Opinions, everyone offers them. Sometimes they are solicited, and sometimes not.
Opinions can be a welcomed, new perspective on a matter. Then again, opinions can be discouraging whether the basis of them is right or wrong.
The thing we must remember about opinions when referring to people is just that, they are someone’s opinions. What that means is it may or may not be factual. It may or may not be the best option for your case. It only means that is the way another views whatever matter is before them. It is their best evaluation of the situation.
Does this mean they are wrong? No. Does it mean they are right? No. An opinion, again, is what it is, an opinion.
Does that mean we shun all opinions given to us? If we are wise, the answer is no. The reason being, that while opinions are opinions, the Bible constantly encourages us to seek wise counsel. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise,” and there are many more verses written like this that support these same thoughts.
As much as some would like to ignore the fact, there are people who know more than we do and we can glean from their knowledge, expertise, and experience concerning the different matters of life. We do not know everything in and of ourselves and so prudence demands that we get close to wise counselors and partake of what they have and can teach us to enrich our lives.
Now, the opposite of that is invalidated opinions or harmful opinions. The thoughts of others that can put a grinding halt on your life and mission. These interferences disrupt the flow of your day if you allow them and can be a damper on the fire that God has placed inside of us.
In the Bible, the apostle Paul, being at the forefront of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through many regions of the world in his day often came under the scrutiny of others’ opinions. One particular time that stands out to me was when he and the other 275 passengers aboard a broken ship had to either swim to shore for safety or float there on pieces of the broken ship (see Acts 28 and chapters prior for the entire story).
Once on shore, Paul gathered sticks for a fire, and out of the heat, a snake bit him and attached itself to his hand (Acts 28:3). When those on the island that were gathered there saw this, they claimed that Paul was a murderer who may have escaped the sea but was still going to get his just desserts (Acts 28:4-5).
Paul, not phased by them or the snake, shook the creature off and went on about his business while the others stood to see what would become of him, expecting him to fall down dead.
When Paul didn’t respond as they thought he would to the snake bite, their opinion of Paul changed quickly in the eyes of these people. They changed their view of him based off of what they could see with their natural eyes and started to call him a god (Acts 28:6).
That is a very dramatic turn from being labeled as a murderer and then having the script flipped to the people claiming he was a god. This shows us how quickly, and how circumstantially, people’s views of you can change.
The problem is, that too many people have halted what God has placed in their hearts because of the opinions of others. Too many have let others revoke their dreams or dictate their calling when it is the Father who knows His good will and thoughts toward you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Constantly looking to others for validation can hinder the mission God has placed you on. If Paul had succumbed to their opinions, as one labeled a murder, he could have tucked-tail, turned, and hid in a corner, which would not benefit where God placed him and what God wanted to do through him. By the way, while on that island, some were able to be healed due to the Paul becoming aware of their illness and being able to pray for them (see Acts 28:7-10).
If Paul allowed his head to get puffed-up when others claimed he was a god, he would have been no good for God’s mission in that place and in the places he was traveling to.
Please, and I mean, please with fervency on top, let me reiterate, that there is much wisdom in wise counsel. Almost the whole book of Proverbs reads as wise counsel on what to do and not to do and the one who wants wisdom would be wise to follow it. And verses like Proverbs 19:20, which says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end” really stand out on the importance of seeking and following through on wise instruction. DO NOT neglect this great gift of available wisdom.
But, don’t let the invalidated opinions of others sway you from your calling. If you are unsure about a matter, seek good, godly wisdom (as noted above). Also, never forget that the greatest source of wisdom and knowing of what to do in an unsure time is to look to God Himself. Proverbs 19:21 says, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
If you are having a hard time figuring it out, pray for a heart of discernment because we DO NOT want to lean on our own opinions if they are wrong, either. Don’t get hung up on self. Again, we have these nuggets of wisdom from Proverbs: “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits” (16:2), “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (16:25), and “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts” (21:2).
Above all, we want to be right with God for it is what He thinks of us, His knowledge and His perspective about our life, and what He wants from us and for us that matters the most.
Overcome the obstacles of false opinions, seek wise counsel, and look to God above all else. He is your confident source for all of life’s decisions.
God bless you.
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