Archives For opinion

A guy emailed me this week to ask my opinion on a well-known Christian leader.  Prophet or a heretic? It was a valid question.  A discussion I’ve seen floating around emails, blogs, and internet chat rooms for years.

But as I was preparing my (obviously brilliant and insightful) answer, I paused.  Were this guy’s assumptions formulated on first hand knowledge or was he simply regurgitating the thoughts and opinions of others?  Better yet, was the answer I was preparing to fire off with reckless abandon founded on my personal convictions or a conglomeration of things I had heard others say?

The reality?  I had no idea what I was talking about.

I had never read a book, listened to a message, even viewed a tweet post of the leader in question.  Yet I was about to wax eloquence on his character and calling. The validity of His message.  I was preparing to vomit a bunch of other people’s opinions that supported my preconceived notions and validated my worldview.  Even if I had been factually right, I think I would have been terribly wrong.

The Bible is very clear in its warning to test what we hear:

“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”
-1 John 4:1 (MSG)

But I wonder how many times I’ve abdicated that responsibility?

I’m not condoning a lone-ranger lifestyle.  We need the correction and accountability that comes from solid community. I’ve had the revelations of others open my mind to incredible insights I would have never seen on my own.  But many of us are too quick to blindly adapt to a position handed to us by someone else.  Usually someone who can talk faster, think quicker, or has a nice looking blog.

Have we lost the ability to wrestle for the truth? Or maybe just the desire?  Are we afraid?  Weak?  Just give me the answer (or better yet,  post it on Facebook.  That’s more efficient).

For some, faith itself is cheap.  Lazy.  A faded copy of an old picture someone else handed to you.

I don’t want to live that way.  To lead that way.  A collection of Twitter re-tweets and Facebook shares.  I want my own encounter with the Creator of the Universe.  I want to hear Him whisper my name.  To speak to the deep places of my heart.  To know His voice.  To live with His conviction.

But don’t take my word for it.  Let Him tell you Himself.

There are a lot of arrogant, isolated, self-reliant, “I’m never wrong” jerks in this world. (I contemplated stronger language, but I think you get the picture).  You’re probably visualizing a few right now.

But honestly, I think there’s a much more dangerous epidemic.

An epidemic of self-protection. A sickness that defines itself by validation from others. A disease that stifles conviction, and forces God-given potential back into the turtle shell of self-doubt.

It’s ugly.  It’s sinful.  And it’s something I battle daily in my own life.

Below is an excerpt from my personal journal. A little butt kicking I got from God last week (He wears big shoes, but I think they’re Toms. Soft soles).  A bit of a pep talk that may mean something to you, too.

6-29-2010

Stop waiting for others to define or validate you. If you blow it, blow it BIG.  And blow it based on a deep conviction you feel in your heart.  Stop waiting for a wave to ride.  Go create a wave!

Stop mentally adjusting to criticism you haven’t really heard, but imagine or anticipate. That’s CRAZY!  Put what you think out there.  If others disagree, – listen, critique, adjust if needed – but don’t hide out of fear of rejection or criticism. You’re big enough to handle that.

Listen for God’s voice, but when you hear as much as a whisper – GO!  Run!  Stop waiting for others to give you permission. Stop trying to hedge your potential for mistakes.  Stop being a slave to opinion.  Start being a true follower of Christ.

Does any of this resonate with you?  Are you ever paralyzed by the fear of screwing things up? Of facing shame from those who may see things differently?  Are you avoiding creating, injecting, speaking, writing, asking, or starting something today because you lack the courage to face the criticism if you’re wrong?

What if we feared missing a God-0pportunity more than we feared making a mistake?