Everyone has an opinion. The problem is that we easily spout off our opinions—only to regret later that we spoke mostly out of ignorance or anger. James warns us that our words can be set on fire by hell. That is why it’s so important that our opinions are spoken with the wisdom of God…which is often manifested in restraint. The turmoil on our streets and in our government often gives way to hateful speech and slanderous accusations. We yell out blame and stereotypes with loud voices, while we jettison compassion and gratitude. Yes, we should speak out against all evil, and call it for what it is. But let’s be aware that our words are too often fueled by our sinful, fleshly nature rather than by the Holy Spirit. The Prophet Amos lived in a time of turmoil when sin abounded and chaos reigned. Here is what he said: “Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:13-15). In light of the evil in our times, wouldn’t it be prudent for us to avoid “shooting off our mouth” but rather manifest God’s wisdom by our actions combined with well-chosen words? What if people knew you not just as “someone with an opinion” but as a person who continually did what was good and right? What if people saw you as someone who stood against evil—no matter if the evil is named racism or violence? When we take a deep breath and step back, we realize we have a lot more in common than what divides us. What if we as Christians used our words to bring healing and unity rather than further division and distrust? Please understand that I am not advocating silence. I am trying to remind you of the Scriptural principle found in Ecclesiastes which tells us there is a time for everything—“…a time to be silent and a time to speak” (3:7b). May the Holy Spirit lead us as “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) in these times of unrest and uncertainty. Lord, let our hearts be filled with the Holy Spirit and our words be guided by Your grace!
Pastor Mark Boucher