People everywhere have opinions. There never seems to be a lack of opinions when a group gathers or even when one person is alone. I have my opinions, too, and if anyone is interested I am glad to share them.
I have been listening to others this weekend as our District hosted the annual Leadership Academy, and I have been reading the Survey from the 2014 Annual Conference. It affirms again my opening words, everyone has an opinion. Opinions can be most helpful when we are seeking evaluation and knowledge on improving a ministry. I realize not all opinions will make me feel all warm and fuzzy, but neither will all make me feel sad and beaten. Opinions are important to hear as they come from the perspective of others who want the best for the ministry.
Where the problem arrises is when individuals forget we are in this ministry together. Monday morning quarterbacks abound. Their words are harsh; their plans, which they kept to themselves until after the event, are delivered in anger and judgement. These kinds of opinions are not useful for "building up the body of Christ" but in tearing it down.
Words. How we use our words and the tone that comes behind each word can hurt and harm or heal and build up. How quickly we forget the power of words. As disciples we must constantly watch the words we chose and be mindful of how we use them.
I know this because I have been guilty of speaking without thinking and without seeing the words I use and the tone in which I share them might bring immediate hurt and harm. It is never my attempt to do that, but I have. I guess that is why we are all moving on to perfection and have not reached it quite yet.
Word and tone have power, and unfortunately they can hurt worse than sticks and stones.
We must never let our guard down as disciples of Christ. We must alway filter our words with the desire to express love and encouragement. If they don't offer that then perhaps we should simply smile and be quiet. Perhaps we should pray before we speak, asking the Holy Spirit to speak though us to share our opinion.
Yes, your opinion matters to me, and I long to hear your thoughts as I hope you do mine. We simply must remember the power of this gift of words and tone always.
Sunday was a blessing as I heard a powerful word from our Conference Lay Leader, Mathew Pinson, as he preached Laity Sunday at Oak Grove. We are blessed to have Mathew as a part of our district family.