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In the U.S.A., rights rule. Everyone has a right to do this and a right not to do that. Children learn to stand up for their free speech rights before they can even talk. Every man knows his rights, or at least thinks he does. Rights are the moving force of our legal system and our social identity. Rights have found their way into the church, too. Christians learn to look at discipleship in terms of rights—the right to draw near to God, our right to worship God as we see fit, etc.
Only problem is that rights are not a biblical concept. You won’t find human rights mentioned in the Old or New Testament. True, the word “right” has found its way into some English translations in the past sixty years or so. But that’s a recent thing. The fact is that human rights have no place in the Bible.
What does the Bible talk about instead of rights? Faith. Obedience. Service. Dying to self. Love. The difference is far, far, more than simply a choice of words.
From the upcoming book, Think Again!, copyright 2007, 2013, A. Milton Stanley. I serve as sports writer for the Manchester Times and preacher and elder for the Church of Christ at Fredonia. The ideas expressed here, however, are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official position of either the Times or the church. I welcome your questions or comments. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.