Read Job 32
Focus on verses 17-18
It took me a while to realize that the letters IMHO which often appear in social media represented the words “In My Humble Opinion”. In my experience those letters have typically been followed by what occasionally is truly a humble opinion. In most cases the verbiage following IMHO is precisely the opposite of a humble opinion, but then this is social media we are talking about here.
As I consider today’s reading, it strikes me that Elihu’s speech is not unlike some Facebook posts I have read. In fact verse seventeen he practically uses the IMHO phrase when he states, “I also will declare my opinion.”
This chapter is just the beginning of Elihu’s longwinded diatribe. It would seem that it is primarily Elihu that the Lord directs the opening words of His response in chapter 38 when He speaks out of a whirlwind saying, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Perhaps that would be an appropriate meme to place on Facebook in response to the next IMHO that I come across that is not as humble as it insinuates.
There are times when I have felt – like Elihu – that I have just the right response to rebuke what appears to me to be self-righteousness in others. One thing that I can learn from Elihu here is that in most cases it is wiser to hold my tongue. It may feel like my belly will burst if I don’t let the words out, but this is all the more reason to exercise self-control and hold the words in. One modern proverb that I have found helpful to abide by in this regard is “Better to remain silent and let people think you are a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
The wise writer of Ecclesiastes writes, “There is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;” The wise person is the one who is able to recognize one from the other.