This week's blog is written by Craig Westhoff, a co-laborer and friend in the 24-7 Prayer Movement. You can find Craig on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craig.west.986
I want to confess something to you: I often rely on my own opinion.
There is a part of me that delights in revealing my own opinion.
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” - Proverbs 8:2.
I’m in love with my own opinions. It’s amazing how often I am completely convinced that I am correct and how often I mistake my opinions for God’s truth.
Opinions are part of being human. Imagine having the ability to think, discern, reason, feel, perceive and yet...not having any opinions at all. Impossible.
Opinions in and of themselves are not dangerous. What makes an opinion dangerous is being absolutely certain of it. An opinion is a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
The grounds my sole opinion rests on is insufficient to produce complete certainty because the grounds are often based on emotion; what I’m feeling.
It’s a cognitive distortion known as emotional reasoning. I FEEL certain. Therefore, it is certain. Whatever IT is.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5,6 (NASB).
The Passion Translation puts it this way...
“Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make.”
This particular translation caused me to ponder...I wonder how many of my opinions are solely based on emotion and pre-conditioning? How often am I speaking out of feeling?
Personally, I would say...a lot!
“Do not lean on your own understanding.”
Understanding here means ‘discernment’ and comes from a root word that carries meanings such as to ‘separate mentally, distinguish, and feel’.
I take this to be an invitation not to lean on what we think we are understanding solely based on feelings. We are those who are training our senses to discern good and evil, and I would say even to discern God’s opinion from ours. Isn’t that what we want? Because God’s opinion is always truth. Mine? Ha! If I’m honest, my opinion is usually an expression of what I’m feeling and my own preference towards myself: self-preservation, self-glorification, self-promotion, self-protection and on and on it goes.
Again, Proverbs 8:2: “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”
When I’m filled with my opinions; when my main and repetitive goal is to only experience the pleasure of making sure my opinions are heard and better yet...embraced as truth, then understanding is out of reach. I wonder if the deeper goal of sharing opinions is simply to know each other. I want to know your opinion mostly because I want to know you. I want to understand who you are, how you are and why you are. And hopefully you want the same from me. Opinions can be shared in a battle arena for the sole purpose of declaring “Victory!”, or they can be shared at the communion table to declare “Fellowship!”
Let wisdom speak from Proverbs...
“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. - Proverbs 18:2
We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive. - Proverbs 16:2 (TPT)
There’s only one thing worse than a fool, and that’s the smug, conceited man always in love with his own opinions.” - Proverbs 26:12 (TPT)
All this to say, opinions we will have...about others, life, God and ourselves, but we are free in Christ to lean not on them, not on our own understanding based on feeling alone, but on Him and His opinions...which are always certain because they are always True.
Jesus said in Luke 11:35 (TPT) - “Open your heart and consider My words. Watch out that you do not mistake your opinions for revelation-light!”
Just my opinion.