One of the things I have found in writing a newspaper column or a blog has to do with feedback and response. The content of negative reaction particularly causes me to scratch my head.

your-opinion_o_655228Almost all of the time when someone “disagrees” the reasons rest solely on opinion. I have had clergy condemn me for an article, saying I shouldn’t have written it.

Two issues arise here.

1. Those clergy haven’t prayed with me about it, nor have they asked whether God directed the words. They simply presume to know all and judge me based on their “opinion”.

2. I started writing a long time ago, and in all that time only once did someone correct me for a factual error. I’m not saying I have operated out of some kind of perfection, but I do research stuff before I publish, and I note the sources (as necessary). For example, a number of years ago I wrote an article based on an article in a Toronto newspaper, and a decision by the Privy Council in England (the highest court for the British Commonwealth colonies). The legal judgement was that the United Church of Canada had wandered so far from traditional Methodism that it could no longer claim to be a church of the Methodist heritage. People of that denomination were harsh (and swift) in their condemnation. Now, they didn’t (and couldn’t) refute the facts; they opposed that I wrote about it, disregarding that it was already in the public forum. Their “opinion”, not based on the facts, justified a personal attack (privately and publicly).

Of course, if I can’t take the heat don’t jump into the bonfire of journalism, especially editorial journalism. I’m not whining. Any reaction tells me people read something of what I wrote. The spiritual issue troubles me, however.

How much in sermons and church meetings, judgements against neighbours and family, rests on personal opinion rather than facts and spiritual exercises?

Sure, if your hobby horse or declared loyalties are exposed as weak, questionable, wrong or even sinful you can repent (change the way you act) or attack the prophetic word which challenges you. I wrote an article on that comparing Saul and David, so I won’t repeat myself here.

fact_or_opinionJust consider this, the only people Jesus condemned were the religious elite who thought they had everything so right that they imposed their “opinions” on others. So confident were they about their “opinions” that they murdered Jesus rather than repent. But whose facts were more solidly founded? Methinks ‘twas Jesus, eh?

So, when you attack or condemn someone for their statement or actions, have you checked your facts? Have you obeyed the Biblical principle of, “humbly think of others as being better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b God’s Word)? And if your facts support the notion that a person has erred, do you follow the Biblical principle of, “If a believer does something wrong, go, confront him when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have won back that believer” (Matthew 18:15 God’s Word)?

Or do you jump straight to a letter to the editor, backbiting or contempt?

The fact is, “Who will accuse those whom God has chosen? God has approved of them. Who will condemn them? Christ has died, and more importantly, he was brought back to life. Christ has the highest position in heaven. Christ also intercedes for us” (Romans 8:33-34 God’s Word).

Does it not bother you to think that just because you have an opinion you might be attacking someone who is doing the will of God?