On the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, there are three webcams. One is pointed north; one, out over the observatory deck; and the other, west. Living three hours away from this mountain, I can hop on the observatory website and get a quick view while in my office in the suburbs of Boston.
Some days when the weather is beautiful here, the view from the mountain summit tells a different story. And even on the summit, if I click on the north camera first, it can be lovely and clear, while the west view shows incoming bad weather. The only way to get an accurate view of the weather on the mountain is to be on the summit itself.
It occurred to me recently that my opinions are like what these webcams show. Sometimes my view or opinion is accurate and sometimes not. And perhaps what I have an opinion about may be none of my business at all.
We all have different backgrounds and preferences shaping our outlook. And with the increase of blogs and websites, we can find out how others think about issues with a click of a mouse.
But what about those times when our opinion is so firmly held, and perhaps willfully injected into a situation, that it creates friction and factions in our family, work, or church? Issues that touch the heart – relationships, careers, raising children, international issues, and the environment – need to be navigated with humility, wisdom, and care.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus counseled us, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). If we think of our daily life as bringing light or healing to situations, we cannot afford to be governed by personal opinions or human will.
I remember visiting a friend some years ago. I respect and admire his points of view, and I'd driven over three hours to see him and ask him some hard questions about life. Many times he answered me, "I don't know; I am not God."
I knew him well enough to know that he wasn't being flippant or dodging tough questions. He was encouraging me to pray, to listen to God, and to get His perspective on things – to "trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6).
Mary Baker Eddy had that deep unwavering trust in God and sought His view on things. In all the decisions she had to make in founding the Christian Science church and in starting this newspaper, she turned unreservedly to God for guidance. She wrote in her autobiography, "The opinions of men cannot be substituted for God's revelation" ("Retrospection and Introspection," p. 84).
And so my friend's repetitive answer "I don't know; I am not God" was the wisest thing he could have said under the circumstances. His lack of opinions allowed me to pray and get my answers revealed to me directly from God, divine Mind. I've thought of his answer many times over the years when I thought I was so right about something.
In this age of quick modes of getting information and voicing opinions, if we take the time in prayer and ask God for His guidance – which brings only healing and peace – we will all have a more accurate view.
Judge not according
to the appearance,
but judge righteous judgment.