by Doy Moyer

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Being able to recognize one’s own opinion and the effect that the stated opinion might have is important for discernment and growth in Christ. Many times I have failed and wish I could pull back on how I’ve stated some opinions. In an environment of strife, here are some questions and passages to think about today:

Let’s say that

  1. I have a very strong opinion about something;
  2. I know it is an opinion, and I know that it is divisive;
  3. I know if I state my opinion very strongly on social media, it will foster division and further divisive comments;
  4. then I recall that Scripture tells me to pursue peace, unity, and love (Psalms 34:14; Romans 14:19; II Tim 2:22).

Do I post a divisive opinion knowing that further division will ensue between brothers and sisters for whom Christ died (cf. I Corinthians 8:11)?

Let’s say that

  1. I have a very strong opinion about something;
  2. I know it is an opinion, and I know that it is divisive;
  3. I know that if I state my opinion very strongly on social media, it may drive away people whom I might otherwise be able to influence for good to follow Christ;
  4. then I recall that Scripture tells me to walk in wisdom and speak with grace toward outsiders (Colossians 4:5-6).

Do I post this divisive opinion knowing that the opinion might turn people away from the gospel before I’ve had a chance to teach them about Christ?

Let’s say that

  1. someone else posts a divisive opinion I strongly disagree with;
  2. I know it is an opinion, and I know that responding to it in kind will be divisive and create further problems;
  3. then I recall that Scripture tells me to pursue peace, unity, and love.

Do I respond to a divisive opinion with my divisive opinion, knowing that further division will ensue between brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us learn to discern and gain wisdom from the Proverbs:

"The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near" (Proverbs 10:14).

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent" (Proverbs 10:19).

"The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult" (Proverbs 12:16).

"Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent" (Proverbs 17:28).

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (Proverbs 18:2).

"It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling" (Proverbs 20:3).

"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back" (Proverbs 29:11).

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