I have thought about writing this post several times in the past year but I have always been afraid of offending someone with my “opinion hammer.”
The term opinion hammer is one that I made up (I think) but evolved from The Hubs’ loathing of the use of the “Jesus Hammer.” This is where someone is beating you over the head with their salvation message without thought or regard to your feelings or circumstances.
As our little family becomes more involved in mission work we are more and more conscience of the Jesus Hammer. We have both been victims of well meaning people beating us with the Jesus Hammer. Praise the Lord for grace and mercy and giving us other opportunities to seek Him. As we plan our July mission trip to Canada we are worried about our team over using the Jesus Hammer thus closing doors to future relationships. We are praying for kind hearts and an awareness of the people around us.
I have expanded the Jesus Hammer to be the “Opinion Hammer.” I have decided to write about it because of a Facebook post i read today. It has since been deleted so I can’t copy it here. It was written by a friend that is a wonderful mom and passionate about the choices her family is making as they raise their children. This post expressed her feelings about decisions we parents make/have made for our babies. While I may agree or disagree about her opinions I was really offended in her word choice.
It got me thinking about other opinion hammers I have seen/heard/read. What I mean is the sharing our opinion by beating people with little sensitivity or care of who is listening. I am friends with and work with some amazing, talented, well educated, awesome people. We have strong and well thought out opinions. We are passionate about what we do. We tell the world our feelings. The way we do that, though, can be hurtful even when we don’t intend to hurt.
I can’t get on facebook or go through the blogs I follow without reading someone’s passionate thoughts on breastfeeding, natural birth, vaccinations, circumcision, homeschooling vs public schooling, exercise routines, gluten-free/vegan/atkins/caveman/fad diets, religion, politics, the environment, marriage, urban dwelling, buy that product, sell this one. etc. You know what I mean. Most write with passion. Some write with facts and evidence. Some SCREAM THEIR OPINIONS IN ALL CAPS. Some post and repost and post a lot of variations of the same message. Many use the opinion hammer. Some are known to belittle and degrade the ones that don’t match their views.
I know in my heart that
all most are good people. They come from a good place. The root of the messages may be good and genuine. Many, however, don’t realize how their word choices and delivery hurt.
So what is my take away from this? There are a several but I will stick to two.
First of all… in the last year I have noticed that i have some strong “know-it-all” tendencies. I can get pretty high and mighty. I have caught myself verbally beating people with an opinion hammer. I am working on this one. I have a long way to go.
Second… We need to choose our words wisely. I need to work on speaking with sensitivity. I can have a strong opinion. It is also okay to share that opinion and even try to sway people to agree with my opinion. However, I need to do so with respect, kindness, and care for the people I am specifically dealing with. The way this is done varies as much as my friends and settings they are in. Blanket statements are misinterpreted and cause pain. Formulas and scripts don’t work all the time. I guess knowing your audience (and being specific about who that is) is really important.
What do think about the “Opinion Hammer?”