Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:11-12

By Lorrie Toni

Years ago, while a student in a class about Business Law. our instructor invited the recently retired District Attorney as a guest speaker.  I always forget his name but I will never forget one of his comments.  He asked us, “What is the one thing that every single person in the United States has?”  It was a harder question than it seemed.  He did not ask, “What does every single citizen of the United States have?”  He specifically asked, “What does every single person in the United States have?”  His answer — an opinion!

Having an opinion is a wonderful freedom.  Sometimes our opinion is shared by many.  Sometimes our opinion is shared by few.  Under the U.S. Constitution, we are mostly free to express our opinion, within reason – you cannot falsely yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater because that is dangerous.  January 6, 2021 alerted us all as to how dangerous opinions can become.  Our country’s constitution frames a government with balanced legislative, judiciary, and executive branches to wrestle with legal definitions of fairness and freedoms.

Nevertheless, even in America, some expressions of opinions can result in persecution.  An opposing view always exists. I once advocated for a public vote of approval before the city added a new tax.  In newspaper editorials, I was demeaned and made fun of.  I received threatening phone calls. My child was threatened.

But Jesus tells us we should rejoice and be glad, for we are now among an elite group when we are persecuted.  God Bless our freedom to stand for goodness, for righteousness, and for love.  And, as messy as it can be, God Bless our country for protecting our freedom to have an opinion.

Dear God, help me to keep you in my heart and soul as I form my opinions.  Amen.