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Thinking of God by Larry Sheehy

When it’s better to keep quiet

    An old saying suggests that opinions are a little like noses — everybody has one. Well, everyone does have opinions ... at least one, and on just about every subject under the sun.  Most are perfectly willing to express them, too, given the chance.  A lack of real knowledge or experience in the subject matter is hardly ever a deterrent to our expressing those opinions to others, willing listeners or not.
     A highly talented church song director of my acquaintance in Little Rock, Arkansas, once wrote about one of his opinions regarding church hymns.  His thoughts have broad application.
     C.S. Lewis once wrote concerning a worship experience, “I dislike very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music.  But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. ... I realized that the hymns ... were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.
    “A few years back, I was at my oldest sister’s house sitting around her dining table with other family members. I can’t remember how the topic began, but I shared my opinion of a certain hymn, pointing out the grammatical mistakes and forced rhymes of the lyric. ‘That’s just awful,’ I said, to which my sister replied, ‘I happen to like the song and get a lot of good out of it.’  I’m not sure, but I think she also mumbled something about brothers with snobbish attitudes.  At any rate, I am ashamed of my folly on that occasion.  After reading the quote from Lewis, I had to revisit my own unpleasant memory in Lois’ dining room and am no less embarrassed now than then. Lord, keep us from foolishness and overinflated assessments of our own opinions.”
    Tom’s article shouldn’t be taken to deny that Christians are obligated to state their convictions regarding essential elements of the word of God, particularly the truth about Jesus as the Christ, and His personal commandments and those of His apostles and prophets (Note Matthew 28:19, 20).  Simply because someone says, “That’s just your opinion,” we are not released from our charge from the Lord.
     It isn’t necessarily wrong for us to express our convictions, or even our opinions.  If we’re honest, we wouldn’t hold them unless we believed them true.  On the other hand, it’s important that we recognize that they may, in fact, be dead wrong.  Of course, as with everything, there are exceptions to this. In spite of the opinion of some, we will be judged on the basis of our acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God. That’s a fact which cannot be successfully proven false.
    But, as brother Chapin’s article indicates, we need to exercise great wisdom in how, when and where we state our opinions ... if we express them at all. And as I stated in the beginning, this has broad application for all of us.
    Larry Sheehy is an elder and pulpit minister at Statesboro Church of Christ. He can be reached at (912) 764-5269.

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