The desire to know when you don’t is powerful in all of us. It creates the foundation for opinion, and opinion can be dangerous. For example, Peter Scholtes provides some research and observation about opinion in his book, The Leader’s Handbook.
What is so interesting about his research is it was conducted in the business arena, explicitly manufacturing, where measurable data is available.
What He Found
The chart on the video thumbnail below illustrates conversations with various people, and the “Xs” represent the data each person gave in the exchange. Each conversation was placed on the chart depending on how well-documented the person's facts were and how convinced they were that it was true.
What they expected to find was the more well-documented a person’s facts, the more the person would “pound the table” and be assertive about what they said.
But what happened was a significant number of conversations fit into the chart's upper left. Meaning people were absolutely convinced about their opinion and what they were saying, but it was not correct, not valid, it was a lie.
Peter Scholtes concluded, “Without data, opinion prevails. Where opinion prevails, whoever has power is king. The ultimate correlation, therefore, is more likely between assertiveness and clout, not assertiveness and objective truth.”
Are You Doing That?
Opinion can be dangerous in relationships. You can believe something about another person, but the facts do not support your belief. What you believe may be lies that you may be passing along to others. Talk about hurting relationships! Worse yet, that behavior implies you are likely doing the same thing in other areas of your life.
You can determine how much you rely on opinions and assumptions by asking simple questions.
Do you accept or believe something that has little or no evidence to support it? Do you say, “How can we know the truth?” Or, you say or believe, "Truth is how you see it." That, of course, means you probably think that there are no absolutes.
If so, you operate with opinion and assumption more than searching for objective data. If your foundation is an opinion, that can easily lead to confusion and sin because it trusts something other than God. Talk about how opinion can be dangerous! Do you trust yourself more than the PERFECT, all-knowing God?
Opinion About God's Word
Specifically, you might believe that the Bible is more opinion than objective truth. If so, it is time to research if you are willing to table your opinion.
You will see the Bible is trustworthy and accurate if you study the facts. Yes, faith is still needed, but faith is not required to see the objective facts about the overwhelming textual, historical, and geographical validity and accuracy of the Bible.
Take the time to research the evidence by reading great books like Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict and his latest The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict Fully Updated To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians Today.
Faith Is Still Required
Faith always plays a part in your life because that is the structure God created. That means opinion is needed in the realm of "I do not know enough to know whether this is true or false." Living daily without making assumptions or having an opinion about something is unlikely.
But that is not the issue. It is whether you decide to act or believe the opinion or assumption as if it is truth or a lie. That is the issue, your belief in the opinion. So, please loosely hold your opinions, speculations, assumptions, and guesses. And let others know this is your “guess or speculation.”
More importantly, do you believe your opinion about God's Word rather than what God clearly states in His Word? That is a horrible problem for relationships because the result is that you trust what you want to do rather than what God says.
While opinion and assumption are part of life, that does not mean God is hiding things you need to know. Consider what God tells us in 2 Peter 1:3:
“…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness….”
What you need has been given to you!
The problem is that you either ignore or are ignorant of what God says. Unfortunately, ignorance is often the problem - not reading and studying the Bible enough. This further implies that you trust other sources, even yourself, more than God's Word. Only you and God know the objective reply to that statement.
God Is Interested in Your Opinion
God is very interested in your “opinion.” The Greek word “dokeo” is often translated as “think,” but its definition is “to be of opinion, think, suppose, to seem, to be accounted, reputed to be, it seems to me.” There are various times that word is used by Jesus when talking to His disciples, which fully demonstrates how much God is interested in “opinion.”
Consider Matthew 6:7:
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
Jesus states that the pagans “think” that babbling with many words is the right way to pray. Jesus is saying, “The pagans have an opinion about prayer that is not correct.” And by implication, it is almost as if He asks the disciples, “Do you think that? Is that your opinion also?”
The Lord knows what you are thinking but uses everyday situations to help you realize that your thoughts do not match the truth. For instance, He might ask you now, “What do you think?” What do you think about your current relationship, job, children’s behavior, or finances? If you do not trust God and what He has told you about how to live and deal with each situation, then you live in opinion! Every daily situation is an opportunity to trust God and move away from opinion.
Look at Matthew 26:53
Jesus was in the garden with His disciples. Judas brings a multitude with swords and clubs, so one of Jesus’ disciples pulls his sword to defend Jesus and cuts off the ear of the high priest's servant. Jesus speaks directly to that disciple with these words,
“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
Wow, the disciple was trying to help! True, but that is the problem; it shows his thinking. His “opinion” was that Jesus could not take care of Himself. He did not see Jesus as God, at least in that situation. The disciple’s opinion was corrected by Jesus’ statement, which paraphrased might say, “Your opinion about my needing to be defended is wrong. Your opinion about the ability of my Father to protect me is wrong. Your opinion about your ability to protect me is wrong. The truth is, I can call my Father, and He will provide twelve legions of angels to protect me.”
In that situation, a typical human sees a friend in trouble and needs help. If, however, the situation was seen through the eyes of one who understands who Jesus is, the thoughts and actions would be different. The thoughts might be, “Jesus always does exactly the right thing, then He must have a good reason for not defending Himself. I do not need to step out and start doing anything. I will follow His lead and do what He does. I can trust that He will also do what is right for me.”
What a contrast! That is what Jesus wants you to think about all situations!
Finally, one more passage, Matthew 17:24-27.
…those that received the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Does your Teacher not pay the temple tax?” He said, “Yes.” When he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or taxes, from their own sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”
Simon stated that Jesus would pay the temple tax, so Jesus took the opportunity to help Simon see the truth. “What do you think, Simon?” is like saying,” What is your opinion? Do kings on earth collect taxes from their sons?” The answer is obviously no. Simon’s thinking was wrong about who Jesus was. Jesus was the son of THE KING OF KINGS, so He did not have to pay taxes, now or ever. Not only son of The King, but He was the King, and the Temple was built to worship Him! Why would He pay taxes?!
Common everyday situations are just like that conversation with Simon. Jesus is asking you, “What do you think?” You may be struggling with a relationship. Jesus is asking, “Do you think I know about this? Do you think I care about you? Do you think I want what’s best for you?”
It may be finances, your job, or sickness, but He asks the same question.
“What is your opinion about Me and how I deal with you?”
PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships