Image by samholland via Flickr
You’ve heard the expression, “your two cents worth,” as it relates to your opinion. Or this one, “Opinions are like noses … everybody has one.” And yet, in spite of the ridiculously low value of human opinion, we cling to our own like moss on a rock.
By definition, an opinion is “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.” One dictionary defines opinions as a personal view, or perspective, of a situation. In a court of law, an opinion, even an “expert” one, rarely counts as anything more than circumstantial evidence.
Like you, I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things; from sports, to music, to fashion, and from politics, to religion, to the weather. Most of the time, I think my opinions are pretty important. I’ve even been known to argue occasionally about the validity of my opinion.
But are my opinions important enough to me that I will pay to protect them? I’m not talking about paying with money, I’m talking about paying with something far more valuable – relationships.
Now before you get all a-quiver and start contemplating your comments, this isn’t about compromising your faith, beliefs, or personal convictions for the sake of pleasing people. I’m talking about being so stuck to your opinion about something (remember, an opinion rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty) that you cut off relationships in order to “prove yourself right.”
Like my husband’s grandparents, who refused to attend their daughter’s wedding because he was Methodist and she was Catholic. Nearly 50 years later, my husband’s parents are still scarred from the experience. What did their firm stand on denominational-correctness accomplish? It drove their daughter AND son-in-law out of church completely. Kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Maybe I should rename my blog “The Fine Line” because it seems like I keep coming back to the same point. As Christians, we must differentiate between God’s view of right and wrong and man-made sin. There are a lot of topics that are “gray” in the Bible that religion has turned into absolute doctrine.
I mean, the Bible says NOTHING about smoking. But it says a lot about gluttony. Which is worse? Good question.
The Bible says NOTHING about versions and translations of the Bible. Yet churches and families are split over KJV-only opinions.
My oldest son has long hair and an earring. He looks like a rebel. Occasionally he acts like one, too! He is frequently judged by others based on his outward appearance, which is to be expected, because that’s how natural man operates. But he also writes and plays Christian music, is on our worship team, honors his parents, and loves God.
Do I like how he’s choosing to adorn himself outwardly at this time? Not really. I’d like for him to be a prep (if he reads this he’ll scream), because I think he’d be cute in chinos and a polo shirt. I like him better with short hair (Yes, I DO know the scriptures about hair, male and female. Mine’s short, by the way.) and I wish he would wear a color besides black.
Do we occasionally butt heads over things? Yes, but I try to limit those things to stuff where I can lay out at least two or three New Testament scriptures to confirm God’s standard of living. I’m not willing to cut off communication with my son, and risk closing his heart to me, over silly things like hairstyle and wardrobe. My opinions are not as valuable to me as my relationship with my son, or the possibility of driving him away from a relationship with God. So sometimes I have to bite my tongue and trust God to deal with him.
Jesus perpetually broke “the rules” to show His unconditional love to others.
According to the religious and cultural opinions of the day, He wasn’t even supposed to acknowledge the Samaritan woman at the well – the one who’d had five husbands and was living with another guy – but He did. He neither condemned nor condoned her behavior. He didn’t have to, her own heart convicted her. He simply looked at where she was and showed her a better way. And she took it!
Christ’s ministry throughout the gospels repeats the same theme with lepers and lunatics and losers of all kinds. I mean, when the naked, crazy guy named Legion comes running toward Jesus on the shores of Galilee, the first thing Jesus does is not try to get him dressed in appropriate churchgoing attire!
Jesus didn’t let opinions get in the way of loving people.
Why do we?
(References: John 7:24, Romans 14:13, John 4)