In My Opinion . . .
January 10, 2019
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2
My mother-in-law used to describe a person who was spouting off their opinions all the time as “someone who talks just to hear their head roar.” Others may say, “That person sure loves the sound of their own voice.” The bottom line is, when my own opinions are set and certain and I have no room to listen and benefit from others I am foolish. Most people can sense it.
Simply said, a foolish person does not want to listen and learn. He finds no enjoyment there. He only enjoys sharing his own opinion. He is amazed at his own wisdom and has utter confidence that he is right. Ted is one of these. He famously over-talks and interrupts when someone else is speaking. When he is chided for his rude behavior, he says listening is a waste of time—he already knows what they are going to say. His arrogance is off-putting, and keeps people frustrated, angry, and distant.
There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion, but the privilege of having an opinion comes with the responsibility of respecting others’ opinions. I may say I simply have strong opinions, but I actually identify myself as a fool. I would be better off to be silent if I can’t listen. Solomon again says, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent” (Proverbs 17:28). Abraham Lincoln paraphrased that verse to say, “Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
The only kind of fool that is acceptable for Christ-followers is to be a fool for Christ, not a fool who is infatuated with his own opinion.
- Think back to your last conversation. How much time did you spend talking? How much time listening?
- How about your last argument? Did you listen and learn, or did you just express your opinion?
- What topics are most likely to trigger your anger, defensiveness, and unwillingness to listen?
- Pray: Lord, I misrepresent You when I love my own opinion and fail to listen. Help me love to understand. I want to cooperate with You in all ways.