Friday, February 23, 2007


“Knowledge is true opinion.” Plato

I cringed. While listening to a recording of the New Testament, I heard something that made me wince. In a crowd around Jesus, a few sideliners voiced untruth and slandered John the Baptist and Jesus.

When someone shares an “opinion,” they express their view, their judgment, and their estimation. Even though John the Baptist lived an austere life of fasting and tee totaling, the street buzz became, “He has a demon.” He’s crazy.

Jesus ate with the elite and also dined on bread with the common man and outcasts. And the opinionated complained, “He is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners’” (Matthew 11).

After history weighed in, it’s plain to see the truthful character of John and Jesus. And, yet, many voiced false statements about them.

Whatever happened to the adage, “Wait and see?”
Much of media, masquerading as newsworthy, could be silenced if people waited to gather facts.

Jesus made a statement after he confronted the opinionated people around him. “Wisdom is proved right by her actions.” Eugene Peterson in The Message rendered Jesus’ words, “Opinion polls don’t count for much.”

Opinion polls are a nickel a hundred in 2007. Cranky opinionated people are numerous, too. Obviously some poll questions are trite and just for fun, but others seem to stir boiling cauldrons and the contents are splattered on those around the pot. Well, at least that’s my opinion.

When practiced, the sage advice James gives is powerful. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God” (1:19-20).

Listen. Be slow to speak. Be even slower about becoming angry. It’s a proven formula for ushering in the righteousness of God. In that slow processing of information, there’s also time to utter a prayer for help.

Coins have two sides. As William Ralph Inge said, “It’s useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion.”

Listening, slow answers, controlled anger—good advice for both sides of any coin.

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