-I have read the Bible from one end to the other at least 30 times.
-I have studied the Bible deeply for 45 years.
-I have researched it from cover to cover on numerous hard issues.
-I have done word studies, followed grammar, and examined context.
-I have read a few thousand books that come at issues from various points of view.
-I have made a long-term conscientious commitment to careful words, graciously spoken.
-I am consciously committed to attempt biblical nuance and balance in whatever I write and say.
-I have often recognized and pressed mute or delete when my opinions have given off lots more heat than light.
And yet—despite all of that—I am ashamed to say that I have misspoken, overstated, exaggerated, and been ungracious too many times. Further, I have been reductionistic, simplistic, judgmental, and a self-appointed critic who has been flat out wrong, more times than I can remember.
Please my brothers and sisters. Join me in:
—giving more care to your words
—holding your opinion with far more self-doubting humility
—ensuring that you have a ton of objective evidence and unbiased proof supporting your opinion
—considering whether your voice is even needed
—envisioning the actual people—especially, but not exclusively, brothers and sisters in Jesus—who will be affected by your words
—choosing your words to be far more charitable, nuanced and balanced; and finally,
—reviewing what you are about to post or say with the knowledge that ten years from now you will almost certainly blush over—if not regret with deep remorse—much of what you are so cock-sure of, and adamant about, right now.
If all of that is in place with a prayerful heart that pleads for the peaceable and open-to-reason wisdom that is from above (James 1:5-6; 3:17-18), then you may go ahead and express what you think; only choose your words and tone carefully. Otherwise, you just may want to put down your megaphone, and keep it to yourself—or at least as private as you possibly can.