I'm crusty. I am very grateful for this outlet. I usually process things with the Lord, first. Then, if it is something that needs continued wisdom or counsel, I talk with Jason, then possibly family and friends, if not involved and appropriate. I don't care for strife but that doesn't mean I avoid it or go looking for it. If it comes, I deal with it. I think some people do indeed go looking for it. Their lives are miserable, so why not include everyone around them, right?
I know that I have strong opinions about some things, but I have also learned with time and maturity (not boasting, just the facts) to bite my tongue and allow others who think they know everything to learn on their own. Just because I have an opinion doesn't mean anyone needs to hear it. Often in the settings where people around me have been so adamant about expressing their views, self-righteousness is the main driving force. "I think I am right = self-righteousness." The pride that permeates the situation is so nauseating that I usually have to leave the room. Have you ever known anyone like this? From the big things like politics and relationships to small things like where to shop and how to run your kitchen, their way is the best way, their way is the only way, anyone who doesn't do things their way is inferior and sub-par, purely ignorant, completely stupid. Oh wait, that is their opinion, they don't define me.
Here is the definition of opinion:
1 a: view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter b: approval, esteem
2 a: belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge
Notice opinion does not equal being right.
The reason I am so fiery about this and can speak out on this is that I used to be that arrogant. My freshman year of college I thought everyone wanted and needed to hear my opinions. It stemmed out of a need to be heard and to be right, but I have learned over time that it was deeply rooted in my own insecurity and need for approval and affirmation from humans. As long as I was right that made me feel better than others. I had this need to know that I was at least better than the next guy. It is this fleeting thought that turns a desire to be good at something into wanting it at the expense of anyone and everyone. It is this small seed that gradually sprouts and grows roots. It is this small seed that one day looks like the beanstalk in Jack's story, at least to everyone who meets you. Somehow you are oblivious that the gigantic beanstalk growing outside your window is obtrusive.
Having an opinion or feeling strongly about something is how we are wired. Having the maturity and wisdom to know when it is appropriate and welcomed is another story. Sometimes in not sharing one's opinion, the other person learns more than if you had shared. Having an opinion does not equate being right.
As long as we think we are right in everything and that everyone we meet is wrong, as long as we think we are better than everyone else because we do, or don't do, this, this, and this, or have this degree or pedigree, as long as we think everyone and their dog needs to hear our opinions when not sought, we aren't building bridges toward life and love.
Sometimes I physically bite my tongue. Other times I have to consciously make the choice to keep my lips zipped. Often shutting my cake hole looks like me walking out of a room because the argument just isn't worth my time on this earth. I'm not sure what it may look like for you, and no, we won't always do it right, but if you don't even realize you actually need super glue or surgery to sew your lips shut, take a look around you...if you haven't many friends, have estranged relationships or you are only surrounded by 'Yes men', you are a prime candidate. I'm guessing at times you are right, but I guarantee it is not all the time. Ask God for the wisdom to know the difference...