Monday, October 2, 2017

Opinions VS Convictions

"Opinions are like noses; everyone has one!"

Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything these days. AND everyone seems to feel the need to share their opinion with everyone else. 

Social media has provided a platform for people to say things in ways that they would never actual voice to anyone out loud. Hiding behind a keyboard and screen we've gotten pretty bold and brave. 

Sometimes, we are seeking to validate our opinion by gaining "likes." Or maybe our intention is to stir the pot in the guise of generating "discussion." Regardless, everyone seems to have something to say about everything. The topic "du jour" is always changing and is always "hot."

These opinions may be based on "fake news" or credible sources but they are all formed through our individual past exposures and experiences. 

We are quick to judge our "friends" based on whether or not they agree with our opinions, even if we aren't typing out our stand on the issue. "I knew I liked her!" "Can you believe he said THAT?!"

Sinful tendencies such as prejudices and racism creep into our inner thought dialogue despite knowing that as "Christians" we dare not type them into our status updates. 

Often forgetting the graces that have shaped our current circumstances and worldview we pick sides and vilify anyone whose opinion differs from ours. Lines are drawn and we sit in judgment over those that fall short of the standard that we have decided makes someone good or bad, right or wrong. 

Name calling begins. 
Enemies are made. 
Friends are lost. 
Relationships are altered. 
Opportunities wasted. 
God is blasphemed.
Divisions are widened.

Recently, while reading "The Accidental Feminist" by Courtney Reissig, I was challenged to think through the differences between opinions and convictions. 

Not everyone has conviction. While someone may have opinions on everything, she may only have convictions on a couple of things. 

Convictions require deep belief. 
Convictions demand action. 
Convictions are formed over time and study and experience. 
Convictions, fully formed and rooted within us, compel us to act without thinking, yet if needed we can articulately explain them because we have invested ourselves within them. 

As Christians, our convictions MUST be firmly and only found in our growing knowledge of our God and His Word. As such, we must display His grace in circumstances and situations when we are confronted with others who have opinions and convictions that differ from our own. We must define our Biblical convictions separating them from our own self-formed opinions.  

As humans, whether we claim Christ or not, we all act out what we believe. The presence of morals in any one person shows that on some level we are convicted that there IS a right and a wrong. That is why we watch the news and can ALL be appalled at the acts of one man in Las Vegas last night and we can ALL applaud the acts of heroism displayed in the face of such evil. 

In the light of current events and the volatile political climate, we MUST hold to our convictions and influence those around us the way Jesus did. He didn't backdown, but He always loved. He dealt with compassion with those seemed the most different from Him. He understood that there were those who would never understand or believe His convictions, but He never sinned against them. He prayed for them even as they crucified Him. . . I can't say that I've done the same . . . 

Whether we differ on the most recent Supreme Court judgment or the vote of our church's personnel committee, let's pray that we keep our personal opinions to ourselves and pray for the grace to act upon our convictions in ways that will bring our Christ the most glory.... 

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