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The Word: ‘Keep the model of Christ in mind’

We don’t like to think of ourselves as being opinionated, but in all reality, most everybody has an opinion on something. Whether it’s politics, the church, the state of society, economics or child rearing to name just a few, almost everybody has an opinion on something. If you ask a room full of people about just one topic and challenge them to be honest about how they feel, you will find multiple opinions on the same topic, many times overlapping each other.

It’s kind of interesting when you think about it. God gave us a mind to rationalize, understand, develop thoughts, communicate thoughts and intentions and we utilize it for everything from brushing our teeth to boycotting a political cause or supporting a social cause. It would seem that we must, by virtue of our nature, give our opinion. Either that or stifle it and refuse to engage in social settings.

If you look through the Gospel of Matthew in chapters 5, 6 and 7, Jesus gives instruction and an opinion on just about every topic of His day. How to live life, fulfilling the law, murder, adultery, divorce, taking oaths, getting even (eye for an eye), dealing with enemies, the needy, prayer, fasting, investing, worrying and judging. An opinion and an instruction for each topic (and many more).

Here is where our challenge lies. How do we form our opinion and deliver our opinion with authority, but also from a place of love and care? Jesus gave these instructions and perspectives out of care for his followers (and potential followers) and it would seem with the intent to help them have the “right attitude” about things. How do we do the same?

First, he didn’t just give His opinion to hear Himself talk and express himself; it would seem He did so with the purpose of instructing others and helping them to find their way. Second, He didn’t beat people down (from what I can tell), but He also didn’t back down from His opinion or instruction. Third, His opinion and instructions were biblically sound. Fourth, his opinion and instruction were not as much a judgment or correction than it was a challenge to make people think.

As we express ourselves to others, it is my challenge to you (and a personal goal of my own) is to keep the model of Christ in mind.

Am I doing this to help others or harm them? Is what I am saying challenging people to learn and grow? Am I convicted myself of what I am sharing with others (do I even believe what I am sharing)? Is my opinion biblically sound? Will the thoughts I provoke help people to think for the better or the worse?

Let our opinions be rooted in the Bible and not from our own understanding.

Barry Vassar is the pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist Church. His email address is fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com