OPINION ~ Function: noun. Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin opinion-, opinio, from opinari. Date: 14th century. 1) a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter. 2) belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge.
This is undoubtedly an opinionated culture. Have there ever been more formats to express the minds of the people? Oprah, Talk Back Live, Electronic Bulletin Boards, Chat Rooms, Rush Limbaugh, Billboards, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – the picture is obviously clear. There is no famine in the land for what people have to say concerning just about anything. The epitome of these arenas must be talk shows. Any large radio talk show employs a “screener;” these are employees whose job is to filter off any uninteresting or unintelligible callers. In other words, they have to skim the top off of all the ignorance that calls in for the show. Even then, there is never a shortage of people with opinions about something they have never even heard of before. One must stop and ask, “What limits the public opinion on anything?”
Kay Arthur once made a statement about opinion and responsibility. The essence of the thought was that people should not readily express opinions about matters that they do not have any responsibility with. In other words, one needs to earn the right to speak.
Imagine working very hard on a yard to make it beautiful. The soil is turned and prepared for a host of plants. Bushes, shrubs, and flowers are careful selected and coordinated and placed them carefully about the landscape. The trees are pruned and each plant is fertilized according to its needs. The lawn is manicured and all the pesky weeds have been removed. Magazines and home owner associations argue over which who retains the right to a cover shoot of the landscape for next month awards and publications. This garden looks exceptional.
One day while labor is being performed in the midday sun, a few neighbors approach and begin kibitzing the labors. Critique ensues over the choice of bush shaping. Black spot fungus is pointed out on the roses. Whispers abound about the imperfect cut on the tree branch prune. Aphids are strained out while the pest of critical words are swallowed.
To what right do these individuals have to offer such assessment? To what minute of labor did they acquire the right to this appraisal? In this scenario it is painfully obvious; they have no right to speak against one’s efforts because they have no investment. This same principle is recognized in sayings, such as, “Try walking a mile in another man’s moccasins.” This is commonly understood as the need to minimally attempt to imagine living a person’s life before criticizing them. It’s all a matter of humility when it is boiled down, because sharp edged opinions would be dulled considerably if one had to bear the load of the task or the individual.
The apostle Paul said in Romans 14:4, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand,” and in Galatians 6:2-3, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” When individuals cease being judgmental and start actually getting involved in the work of the kingdom, something just shy of miraculous takes place – people begin bonding and become a true family.
I give my God thanks for all of you who do this very thing.
Keep the Faith!