You distort reality with your assumptions, opinions, and guesses. Opinions hurt relationships because you guess what is happening rather than ask for facts. In fact, you create a story about what's happening! That story may contain facts, but it weaves assumptions, guesses, and speculation with emotions to arrive at something that is just your opinion.
What Drives This Relationship-Destroying Behavior?
Actually, it is part of the amazing ability of your mind, which can't stand not knowing something. So, when you don't have all the facts, you still want to believe you know. Therefore, you "fill in the blanks" with your opinion.
That means, Instead of observing and asking questions, you "fill in the blanks" with guesses, speculation, estimation, and conjecture. And it gets worse when you believe that your assumptions are the TRUTH!
Of course, it happens too often in all relationships, too! Your opinions hurt relationships when you assume you know what the other person is thinking by the look on their face, the actions they take, or their "body language." Sure, those can be important, but most often, what you see is filtered through your opinion of what you think is going on. Unfortunately, the lack of skill and discipline to simply observe and ask questions leads to assumptions and guesses which then leads to creating relationship problems.
What Is Opinion?
Look up the definition of opinion, and you will see some key points:
- what seems true or probable
- not founded on certainty or fact
- Synonyms: estimation, supposition or guess
But, how the word "opinion" is used seldom fits that definition. Most often, it is used as if opinion equals facts. Worse yet, research shows you can quickly and easily be assertive about a completely untrue opinion. When you get a number of people asserting their beliefs or opinions, they can be operating with a lie and believe it is truth and reality.
When you become disciplined not to fill in the blanks, you take the time to ask questions, get facts, or suspend your guesses and assumptions. But, when you don't do that, "I just know" becomes your mantra because you fill in your blanks with assumptions and guesses.
Better Check What You Believe
It is wise to pursue the reality of your beliefs. For instance...
- Just because you believe something does not make it true
- Just because you do not believe something does not make it untrue
- Do you know the "Who said so", the facts, the truth that supports your beliefs?
- Your opinion or beliefs may be false; do you know the consequences?
Opinions hurt, even destroy, relationships because you act according to your opinion rather than asking for the facts. Sure, people can lie to you, but it is much better to ask anyway. The problem is you are thinking, "What's the point of asking? I know what is going on!"
Add to that ugly reality how often people punish each other for asking about specific situations or even asking questions. "They have no right to ask me that!" creates a strobe light "ME" flashing moment.
God Is Interested in Your Opinion
Please take some time to research how often Jesus asked the Disciples about their thinking. In the New Testament, the Greek word used for "think" can be defined as "opinion." So when Jesus asked His disciples, "What do you think?", He was actually asking, "What's your opinion?"
Then, when they answered correctly, He stated they were thinking well; if incorrect, He would provide the right way for them to think.
What you may be missing is God is doing the same with you every day, multiple times. Each situation or circumstance is an opportunity to think correctly or trust your opinion. If the other person in the relationship is treating you poorly, God asks you about your thinking and how you think you should be acting toward them.
He wants your thinking to align with His Word, the TRUTH. Otherwise, it's just your opinion, or worse; it's a lie. Opinions hurt relationships, especially when it is incorrect.
For instance, a common opinion is that people "fall in love." If that is what you think, that does not fit God's Word. God states that love is a choice or decision, not something that happens to you. Love is "pursuing the best for others patiently, kindly, sacrificially, and unconditionally."
God wants you to remove your opinion and trust His Truth. Proverbs 3:5-6 illustrates this clearly. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
In other words, stop trusting your opinion and start trusting God. That's the fundamental decision in life "Will I trust in God or trust in something other than God?"
PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships