What to do with opinions?

opinion“That’s my opinion, and it ought to be yours!”

That’s how radio character Makk Truck would sign off his daily comedy bit on WSIX on the House Foundation each day. It was a funny way to end a goofy rant on the radio, but in reality, it’s how most of us feel. After all, if I believe something, I believe it to be correct—so you should, too.

Dealing with opinions can be really tough. The “letters to the editor” page in the paper is proof enough of the diversity of opinions, and we know that they aren’t all equally valid. We always argue more about what the Bible doesn’t say (or what it might imply) than what it actually says. My friend Wes McAdams shared three suggestions for what we do with our opinions. I’ve tweaked them a bit for our purposes…

FIRST: Don’t be argumentative about them. That’s what Romans 14:1 says: “don’t quarrel over opinions.” There are some things worth fighting for; opinions aren’t one of those things. (By the way—an argumentative spirit seldom wins anyone!)

SECOND: Keep them to yourself. Proverbs 18:2 is great: “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” You don’t have to share everything you know. Paul said that knowledge can puff up while love builds up. Sometimes the best thing to do is do nothing at all.

THIRD: Use your opinions to restrain yourself, but not others. It’s not our job to judge our brothers—that’s God’s prerogative. Read the rest of Romans 14 and you’ll see that for yourself. One of our heroes in the faith, Thomas Campbell, wrote a document called Declaration and Address in 1809. While encouraging us to go back to the Bible and reject human creeds and divisions, in section #6, he warned the church to be very careful not to bind the things that are not explicitly clear in scripture on others as a test of fellowship, lest we raise our own beliefs to the status of scripture.

I wish that we all agreed on everything, everywhere—but we don’t. How we navigate the uncertainty of our opinions can make us or break us as a fellowship!