Separating Fact from Fiction in an Opinionated World

“Society is drowning in opinions when what it needs is wisdom.”

Richard Blackaby

Drowning is not a nice image to think about, but I feel it everyday, and the addiction to my phone does not help one bit. As my alarm, it wakes me up in the morning, and as I roll over to tap the snooze button, all too often I am drawn into the opinions and voices of my day. So…many…opinions.

We live in a noisy, crazy world, especially during the pandemic of Covid-19, and the subsequent cultural pandemic of racism in America. I believe the images we take in on a daily basis traumatize our souls whether we realize it or not. The arguments over the coronavirus spread, mask wearing and social distancing along with images of police brutality and tearing down statues accumulates in our hearts over time. We are over-stimulated, and it never ends.

On the flip side there are good things, helpful things on the internet. I have found really helpful information from wise leaders who offer practical help or who are teaching and helping to bring understanding where I have been blind. With so many opinions, it can be hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.

I consider myself a teachable person, and sometimes I have an insatiable need to learn and for knowledge. I love to learn. I find value in wisdom, but there are two kinds of wisdom: True wisdom from above and false wisdom of the world.

How Do I Recognize False Wisdom?

I bristle when I hear or read the words, “speaking my truth.” The warning light goes off over the word “my”. My truth is based on my feelings, my temporary circumstances or my current mood. It is true for me, but it may not be true for you. 

Think about the opinion pieces you may have read in certain newspapers. It is a personal perspective or judgment on a particular issue. It may be based on fact or knowledge, but not necessarily. Consider the source. Is there a bias or political bent? In this day and time, probably so. 

Opinions or personal truth may compel us to demand rights, choose a side or provoke a debate. False wisdom is earthly, unspiritual and demonic (James 3:15). It is mean-spirited ambition, boasting and twisting the truth all to make you sound wise. These strong words, blunt and in my face, reveals how urgently I need true wisdom. I am a prideful being or self-centered. When I am responding out of my marred, sinful flesh, out comes harsh words, the need to be right and the need to be accepted as I am. It becomes all about me. I don’t take the bait every time, but when I do, what follows is regret.

Consider Wisdom From Above Instead

Jen Wilkin, a popular Bible teacher said, “Whether we speak our piece or hold our peace, let it be done in the fear of the Lord, not the fear of man.” That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of wisdom.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” 

Proverbs 9:10a

Wisdom begins with God because God is all-knowing and all-powerful, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28). Our words in this world matter all the way to judgment day, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” (Matthew 12:36).

Do you need this wisdom from above? Oh yes, I need this wisdom, and fortunately, God is ever so ready and willing to give it. I just need to ask for it. According to the book of James, God gives wisdom generously to all and He doesn’t want me to hesitate to ask for it. Without this wisdom from above, I would drown here below by the undertow of the stormy seas.

What I am Learning

“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor,” (James 3:17-18, The Message)

I am asking God for wisdom, and not relying on my own understanding. I am learning to measure my words and actions with the wisdom from above. I am learning to be quick to listen and slow to speak and even slower to anger. I am learning to listen to the soft whisper of my Lord’s voice as I rise in the mornings. I am learning to cast my cares on the Lord for He cares for me, and not brain dumping all my trash on the social medias. I am learning to get along and treat others as I want to be treated especially and even when I’m not looking someone in the eye. 

Because our words matter and our holy actions are needed.

Wisdom is God-given and God-centered discernment regarding the practical issues of life

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