“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” – Proverbs 18.2From David King:
Sometimes when I am reading the Bible, I experience something very strange. It’s as if a light beam hits my chest, pierces through the skin and flesh, and shines directly on my heart. Except it isn’t a light beam, but God’s gaze.
It’s painful, but that’s not the point, because at the same time, it feels refreshing. It’s when God, through his Word, shows up a characteristic of mine that I realise needs working on. I know that he loves me despite this failing, but I also know that this failing is wrong and the Lord believes that it is time to work out my salvation in this area.
Perhaps this happens nowhere more than in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is a book, almost above all other Bible books, that displays to us the character of Jesus and shows us where we most need to be transformed
Being quick to express an opinion is definitely a failing of mine! This verse though, with laser-like focus, exposes the truth that this is a failing, not just of mine, but of our present culture as a whole. You don’t have to listen for very long in our world, to hear people expressing opinions without understanding – whether it’s Twitter, phone-ins or Question Time (who thought audience participation was a good idea…). Even during the present crisis this is apparent. There are confident declarations on what the government should or should not do, from many (including us) who have very little understanding.
Quick opinions allow us to take sides without the awkwardness and effort of actually seeking understanding. My father used to say to me, when I was being particularly belligerent in debate with him, “Don’t let facts get in the way of a good argument.” Understanding is a pain, it often leaves us appreciating the arguments on the other side. Opinion is so much easier, it allows us to shelter in a club of likeminded people.
s challenges us to be different. But the challenge is also an opportunity. As we hear and heed it, we will demonstrate how following Jesus transforms us and makes us “shine among them [our present generation] like stars in the sky as we hold firmly to the word of life” Philippians 2.14. If you, like me, struggle with being an opinionated fool, pray that the Lord will help you pause and seek understanding before you speak, or not speak at all.