Keeping Clear

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I am a person who likes to "tell it like it is" or give an opinion when asked.  Most folks are like that to some degree.  I am like that to a great degree.  In fact, I have been known to give unsolicited and perhaps even unwanted opinions.  But, hey, that's the way I like to engage folks- unashamedly.  So, when it comes to religion, politics, weather, natural disasters, sports, entertainment, world events and even the economy, I can hold my own and wear my thoughts on my sleeve. 

Having said that, I have found that many conversations are of an open and sincere kind where honesty, transparency and openess are lauded and appreciated.  Those are the ones in which I dive headlong.  But, there are others where questions are no more than a trap.  The people with whom you are conversing are simply looking for something in which to find fault or leverage a comment against you or your world view.  It is intellectually dishonest and relationally harmful. 

In these later times, I have found it just better to keep from taking the bate.  I think there is a good precedence in doing so.  Jesus seemed to answer the honest questions with honest and sincere answers.  Whether it is a man seeking help for his demon possessed son or a woman at a well who was embarrassed by and trying to justify her own poor choices or a blind man who simply wants to see, Jesus engages them without hesitation.  But, for Herod who wants to see and hear magic and the Pharisees who were constantly setting legal traps, it seems as though "the cat had Jesus' tongue."  He became silent or spoke in parables or gave a conversation-stopper reply.  At those times it is not an unwise response or governed by shyness or cowardice.  It is truly the best way to answer the silly or foolish- with little or no reply.

So, keep in step with Jesus.  Engage without hesitation with those who really want to know you and understand life from your perspective.  Put the breaks on the opinions with those who simply want amunition to debunk, criticize or hurt.  Engage deeply or keep clear.  Wisdom requires we know the "time to speak and the time to remain silent" (Ecclesiastes 3:7).     

Matthew Thomas
By Matthew Thomas

In my sixth decade of seeing God work simply increases my faith. Born in California, raised in Washington, ministered in Washington, Oregon, Canada, Philippines, Idaho and now all over the world has given me reason to believe and praise. My wife, Marlene and four children (Luke, Mitch, Samuel and Charese) give me reason to give deep thanks. My eight beautiful grandchildren (Jalen, Jordan, Katelin, Andrew, Eli, Callia, Asher and Mikaela) give me reason to see that grace reaches beyond our immediate present into our un-conceived future. Serving with a great team in the Free Methodist Church makes me a blessed person in a blessed place, serving with blessed people.

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