What a week it’s been. Those with opposing views on Judge Brett Kavanaugh can at least agree on one thing: It’s an exhausting time to be an American.
Accordingly, I was reminded this week that almost anytime I engage in political dialogue, whether commiserating with someone who agrees with me or seeking to persuade someone who doesn’t, I typically end up feeling like I need to repent afterward. I sense I’ve spoken with more confidence than my actual knowledge warrants, and more superiority than my own moral record before God has earned me (“for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself” - Romans 2:1). Nor do I ever seem to persuade anyone who doesn’t agree with me already!
As a result, I’m thinking about a spiritual practice a friend of mine once suggested, the practice of “fasting from opinions.” The idea is to address tendencies to misspeak or overspeak by fasting, not from holding opinions per se, but from sharing opinions about controversial matters for a period of time. God never prescribes such a fast, but he does warn us that,
But whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)
There are certainly moments when we should denounce injustice. However, in an age of 24 hour news cycles and social media platforms that have created millions of self-appointment pundits, it’s easy to think we’re responsibly decrying evil when we might simply be venting or virtue signaling to no positive effect. Given human nature in general, and our cultural moment in particular, we’re probably at more frequent risk of speaking too much than we are of withholding a legitimately profound and effective insight concerning a highly charged matter.