You don't have to look far to see something you don't agree with. Especially if you call yourself a Christian. I almost hate to use that term because it's practically become a derogatory term. To clarify, by "Christian" I mean someone who genuinely loves the Lord and is doing their best to let Him actually BE their Lord. As a Christian, living in the freedom of His Lordship, it's easy to see those that are not living that way and see the negative that lifestyle may bring...in your opinion that is. It's easy to see the darkness when you're used to living in His light. It's easy to see the lack all around you when you're living in His provision. It's easy to see fear and hate and all around ugliness when you are so aware of His peace, love, and beauty. And so it's easy to point it out. And it's easy to start to think that you have the right to point it out. It's easy to begin to forget that all those beautiful things are bestowed on you because you have a gracious and loving Father and not because you some how are more deserving then someone who is living in darkness.
Lately I've seen and heard fellow Christians voicing their opinions...and claim the right to those opinions concerning the choices of not love in others. Don't get me wrong, I've been guilty of this myself. The real question in my heart lately, though, has been, "Do I actually have the RIGHT to my opinion??" I've been hearing lately by many this idea that we all have this God-given right to our opinions. And well, that just doesn't feel right to me.
When a famous person does something I may not approve of, do I have the right to form an opinion about whether I think it's wrong, because hey, after all aren't they a role model and haven't they chosen to be in the public eye and don't they have the responsibility of living a perfect life?? When the President makes a decision that I don't agree with don't I have the right to voice my opinion about it on a social network? When my pastor decides to wear jeans instead of a suit don't I have the right to form my own opinion about whether or not he's being spiritual enough? When another mom at the grocery store has clearly chosen a different style to parenting isn't it right for me to voice my opinion about it? Or maybe even just think about my opinion about it?
I started thinking about what that word opinion really meant because I think Christians have turned it into something it's not and to quote Fezzik from The Princess Bride, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." So I looked it up in the good ole dictionary. Opinion: 1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty. 2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal. 3. a judgment or estimate of a person or thing with respect to character, merit, etc.
By forming a personal opinion about someone you are judging them. It's that plain and simple. Whether you voice it or not it's judgement. And what does judgement mean? It means the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion. So essentially by forming an opinion about someone or their actions you have taken a place of authority in their life. You have come to the conclusion as to whether they are right or wrong. Who's place of authority you ask? Ahhh and here's where you may want to stop reading...it's God's place.
Can we have a moment of silence for all the pieces of our souls that just died? *Gulp*
OK so here's the deal. I'm not writing this blog because I've formed the opinion that every one is too opinionated and judgmental. I've just noticed a trend, especially on social media, and especially from Christians on social media who are making judgements and justifying them with the word opinion. And so the truth is we're not called to be opinionated or judgmental. We're called to be the Love poured out, the Compassion driven, Forgiveness giving people He's created us to be and modeled for us in His very existence. Obviously, that doesn't mean agreeing with or encouraging behavior that is blatantly not love. Let's just remember that none of us would be the same without Jesus and if someone's life is reflecting a life with out Him it's cause for compassion and love not judgement and shame.
So in conclusion, based purely off the definition of the words opinion and judgement and the well known Scripturally based standards concerning judgement the answer to the question in the title of this blog, NO we do NOT have the RIGHT to our opinions. Would you please join me in repenting for all the times we've done this and let's receive His forgiveness and His supernatural revelation concerning these things? Let's ask Him to teach us how to love the unlovable, those easy to judge, and let Him fill your heart with compassion for all those who are desperately in need of it.