Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To my opinionated family

I am concerned, given the volatile political time we are in right now, with how we push our opinions and where. I see all these discussions on facebook, blogs, and emails, and even just conversations (gossip?). It is soooo easy to spout on the computer a thought, a current opinion, or present belief, that we would never do to some one's face. Sometimes too we MIGHT spout right to the person, because we believe we are right and truth justifies our saying it right out.

The scriptures say to, "Agree with thine enemy while thou are in the way with him...." I don't think that means give up our beliefs. It may mean partly to find some area of agreement. Try to be agreeable whenever we can. We don't have to share every opinion. We don't have to right every wrong with our tongue.

Sometimes it is better to hold our tongues. Let others have their freedom. The Lord lets us have that freedom! When we speak out prematurely or forcefully (and there are times to be forceful, but they are rare), we can damage relationships long term or even permanently. Those relationships are usually more important than the words we think MUST be spoken right then. And sometimes we are not completely right. Sometimes we don't know where the others have been that form their opinions. We may even change our opinion a little later on. Maybe they are wrong, but need time or other ways to realize that. Other times we merely make ourselves a lightning rod, when we don't need to be.

I speak from experience here, having been guilty at one time or another, of most of what I've just explained. The Lord made us so we can't read each other's thoughts, even our spouse's, for a reason. There have been many times when I was sure I was right and justified in saying something, but a little pause or discretion kept me from embarrassing myself or hurting someone else.

Please be careful in your opinions, especially online. Consider carefully how, what you very much want to say, will come across or be taken. Let some time pass before responding. Let some things go. Don't be lily-livered, but be thoughtful in how much and how we say opinions. Be very careful to discern between fact and opinion. (It is NOT a fact that BYU is the best school. It is an OPINION, which I believe!)