As the old saying goes, opinions are like certain unmentionable parts of the body: everybody has one. Of course, that was then and this is now. Today most everybody has opinions about most everything. Even more, exponential times have engineered multiple platforms for expressing them. Ours is the world of the first amendment on steroids. Look around and listen up to get the drift of the latest controversial topic in every conceivable flavor. So, thanks for asking. And, if you didn't ask, thanks for giving me the privilege of posting it anyway. Or, take a hike.
The journey through free speech legislation is an arduous one. We humans have creative juices that have moved the courts in just about very conceivable direction. It reminds me of what God said to the people of Babel after examining their tower---"And nothing they propose to do will now be impossible to them" (Genesis 11: 6b, ESV). We just keep learning the mechanics of of getting what we want. And, that's part of the deal about opinions these days. We have them in abundance. And, we want to speak them or express them, burn, trample, or post them no matter. It's our God given right to think independently and our state given right to put them out there. And, do they ever collide!!! The joys and blessings of the Bill of Rights are muddled somewhat by the twists and turns of the first amendment. If you would like a short, simple, and easy to understand summary of the freedom of speech, click here.
Leave it to Solomon to give us some clarity about our opinions. His Proverbs do a pretty good job explaining the ins and outs, ups and downs, of the human condition, regardless of the specific topic. The Proverbs, of course, compare wisdom and folly. In short wisdom is life according to God's plan and folly is the human way, always wrong. Evidently human nature is much the same in exponential times as it was in ancient Israel. About opinions, Solomon wrote---
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Proverbs 18:2, ESV
Is that a mouthful or what? Somewhere in the exploration of ideas common sense and understanding have been side-railed by bumper-to-bumper opinions. Mouthing off and being heard are more central to contemporary debate than reasoned argument. Being rabidly for or against something has greater merit than seeking answers or probing solutions. Right now I'm observing three very significant contests that touch important parts of my personal life. Withholding an opinion is a tough option. But, the fireworks are so loud and frequent that more noise will just drown any sounds of understanding. By Solomon's way of thinking, which is of great value in the Christian worldview, the noise is just folly.
Proverbs 18 is twenty-four verses about life without the meaningful influence of others. At root throughout this Proverb is the folly of being self-absorbed. As a result, the matter of expressing opinions rather than seeking understanding is a repeated theme in Solomon's teaching here---
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountains of wisdom is a bubbling
brook. Proverbs 18: 4, ESV
A fools lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fools mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to the soul.
Proverbs 18: 6-7, ESV
If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
Proverbs 18: 13, ESV
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. Proverbs 18: 18, ESV
From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his
lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat it's
fruits. Proverbs 18: 20-21, ESV
In total here, Proverb 18 acknowledges how much foolish humans love to hear themselves talk. Personal satisfaction and nourishment are more the result of our take on things than learning or understanding. And, that's a central thought in ideals about expressing our opinions. In this regard Solomon shared a powerful summary statement----
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge , and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18: 15, ESV
And, that's the deal about opinions. Wisdom seeks knowledge before engaging the verbal equipment. If our opinion can actually bring understanding to an argument or debate it should be expressed or spoken. If it is simply to draw attention to ourselves it should remain silent.
Exponential times are defined by velocity and complexity. Everything is fast these days, and few matters are simple. Thought, reflection, inner examination, and understanding are the stuff of resolution and answers, and wisdom. Blathering is just folly.
And, many of our opinions are just that too---folly. Thanks for asking. And, thank God for inspiring Solomon to give us his.