Opinions are Everywhere! How Do We Address Them?
Opinions are absolutely everywhere! I love this meme! And who doesn’t relate to Woody, completely overwhelmed with all the opinions being spouted everywhere! Our society is FULL of opinions all over the place. The news has people who are paid to only give their opinion, and they have people who are supposed to report who also give their opinion! We have social media where everyone seems to have an opinion about things we didn’t even know we could have opinions about! Our tv shows and movies are filled with political and societal messages. There are books and articles and journals and blogs…. opinions are just running rampant! It can be so overwhelming and, sometimes, it can change the way we think.
So what do opinions have to do with scripture? We will find out!
In an age where everyone has an opinion, it is that much more important to know what you stand for. After all, to quote a country song, “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” (you can thank my husband for that one! I don’t listen to country except with him in the car!)
In all seriousness, if you don’t know what you stand for, then you can be swayed by logic and/or emotion to believe in anything. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at politics. You can go to any news station and look at their reports of politicians changing their minds. The left-leaning stations will show you how Republicans have altered their stance on an issue. Go to the right-leaning stations and they will show you how Democrats have changed their stance on an issue. And every time they change their position, most of their followers will change their minds too.
Want a more direct example? Look at the Second World War and how Hitler was able to use emotion to get people to do heinous things. Some would believe so wholeheartedly in what he was saying that they would die a hangman’s death believing his words.
Look at kids and how often they will alter their likes/dislikes based on the opinions of their friends.
Believe me, people fall prey to this more often than any of us realize. Sadly, it happens in our faith as well. Secular beliefs infiltrate our belief systems and cause us to compromise on our faith. Sometimes, this happens without us even realizing it. The opinions of the world start effecting our faith. Notice I didn’t say the truths of the world. As Christians, the Bible is the only truth.You either believe the Bible in its entirety, or you don’t. If you pick out what you believe in and what you do not believe in, then you don’t really believe the Bible, you believe in yourself.
The Bible speaks to these things. In 2 Timothy, we are told that people will start following the leaders that make them feel good instead of those that are Biblically sound. And we are told to stand firm in our faith and to not be swayed.
The best way to attack this is to simply study God’s word. Read it frequently. Think about it. In the Bible, it is often said to “meditate” on God’s word. That means to think about it. When you read a scripture, think about what it is saying and how to apply it to your life. Pray about it and see what God shows you.
So, if the Bible is God’s truth and we are Christians applying that truth to our lives, how do we handle difference of opinions? After all, there is no shortage of people in today’s world telling Christians how they should practice their own faith. We, as Christians, even do it among ourselves.
Our response should never be to angrily fight back. Engaging in arguments is never the way to accomplish anything. Arguments are just two people trying to be beat each other in a verbal battle. We aren’t talking debates here. I’m talking about arguments. You know, the kind where neither person is looking for truth or the compromise, they’re just looking to be right. After all, how many times have you changed your mind because of an argument on social media?
Proverbs tell us “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Is the person you are about to engage with looking for understanding? Or are they only looking to express their opinion? If it is the latter, don’t even engage. Should you engage, you will end up being the same person they are, a fool who is only looking to express his opinion.
But not everyone is a fool, looking to only express opinion without understanding. Some people do look for understanding. In these instances, we should be ready to engage. We should always be ready to defend our faith. But that doesn’t always mean what people think it does. 1 Peter tells us that we are to always be prepared to explain in a kind manner our beliefs and faith. Let’s look at three translations/paraphrases of this.
What is being explained here is that we aren’t to engage in a way that makes the other person feel poorly. We also shouldn’t engage with the attitude that we need to change their mind. After all, that is the Holy Spirit’s work.
We are to engage in a kind and loving way, so that the person has no ill will towards us. This is important. Should the Holy Spirit convict the person, but they are angry towards you because your attitude was hostile or because you were condescending, they may choose to ignore the Holy Spirit. This is what the Bible means when it tells us not to be a stumbling block to someone.
2 Timothy puts it this way:
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
There are so many things the Bible tells us in regards to opinions. Way too many to discuss in one devotional blog. We will revisit opinions off and on through our Monday Memes. But for today, take some time and think about your opinions.
Which opinions do you hold fast to? Which are ok to change your mind on? Which are steadfast beliefs, not opinions?
Are you being swayed by the “logic” of others’ opinions? Are you engaging in arguments?
How have you handled confrontation in the past? How should you change the way you deal with it?
I pray for your endurance and steadfastness to the Word in this day and age where opinions are bombarding us constantly. I pray that you will hear the Holy Spirit when He directs you in your responses; that you will be able to be a vessel for Jesus in a world that thinks He is outdated. And I pray that as you go through this week, you will see where Jesus is asking you to make changes and be courageous enough to change them.
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Meme pictures derived from social media and shared under Fair Use Copyright Law