Do you ever feel overwhelmed by opinions? Not your own, but the amazing avalanche of everyone else’s thoughts?
I’ve been amazed at the ferocity of opinions on all sides of many debates. I’ve seen Christians metaphorically tearing lumps out of each other in the blogosphere, on twitter and even Facebook - just because of opinions.
Opinions are good and everyone has them - that’s life isn’t it? God created us as individuals able to reason and form opinions. We need them, they show who we are and what we stand for.
I have many of my own! The thing is - I dare not share them.
I try not to let my opinions influence how I see others and I am happy for others to have an opinion of their own - it shows they think things through, and in my mind that’s a good thing.
But I struggle with how others deal with some one else’s opinion when it doesn’t match theirs.
We’ve been studying 1 John in our home group - brilliant! But it has made me increasingly aware of how in some circles Christians will not love their ‘brother’ if they have a different opinion.
Maybe social media just magnifies the problem - or maybe love is draining out of the Church? I don’t like either scenario, but the latter scares me rigid.
I love my church, and I feel loved in it - There are lots of opinions there, even in the leadership and it makes for a healthier church. I feel safe there and I know I am fortunate to be able to say that. But out in the big world wide Church, I often don’t feel safe.
I don’t feel safe to say what books I’ve read, what my politics are, what my thoughts on women in the church are, how I view predestination and God etc, etc. I know that if I said exactly what I thought about these issues on twitter - I would lose half my followers. Clarification here - I’m not that bothered about how many followers I have! BUT, I would be more concerned that I had been trashed because of my opinions with no regard to my faith and my love for God.
It’s sad to say that my opinions are respected more by family who are not Christians than some of them who are.
I have even been asked not to help/speak on a Christian kids camp anymore because of other peoples opinions on women.
I have been horrified by people saying they won’t sing a certain worship leader/songwriter’s songs anymore - not because of poor theology (And for this writer - It’s very good theology!) but instead….. because they don’t agree with their politics.
You know what really worries me?
There are two things: The fear that I am becoming just as judgemental - I spot it sometimes in my occasional quick and angry responses to things.
But even greater is the realization that all this arguing is squashing my joy in loving my wonderful Saviour, because all around me I see battles that should not be battles, arguments that should be loving discussions. Then there's the thought “am I really that wrong?!” causing me to question my own faith. In short - I am sad. Very Sad.
What are we teaching our children?? What are we showing our friends and family who do not yet follow Christ?
Today - I choose not to be adversarial - instead I choose gentleness. It has always been my preference to be gentle. I want it to remain so.