The Things We Fear Day 5 – Opinions
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. (Proverbs 29:25, ESV)
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10, ESV)
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4, ESV)
We live in a day in which the line between opinions and facts is blurred. Our news outlets are more inclined to share opinions rather than facts because that is what garners the most attention and money. Opinions can be shared immediately and often with a certain degree of anonymity. We can comment on just about everything, and the inclination is usually not towards kindness. With cancel culture on the rise, one mistake these days can lead to being “cancelled.” It’s no wonder we live in constant fear of opinions. Will they like my outfit? Are they all laughing at the way I just stuttered? Will they hate me if they know what I believe? Our minds are swimming with fears of the opinions of so many, and it can quickly become overwhelming.
Peer pressure. We’ve all been there. We’ve all stood in a group of friends or acquaintances and laughed at something we didn’t find particularly funny or contributed to a jab at someone else. We all want to feel like we belong, and if conforming to the attitudes/habits/appearances of others will help us do that, it is far too easy to comply. Especially when we were young, every little thing felt so critical, and maybe still does sometimes. We placed so much value on the opinions of our peers at school because it was the difference between sitting with others at a lunch table or eating alone in the bathroom. We all just want to be loved and accepted, and that desire can lead to our making bad decisions.
Worldly opinions. The media of the world has a profound impact on who we choose to be. What the latest fashion trends are, how much we weigh, how we speak, and what we believe in are just some of the things that cause us to put our lives under a microscope. Once again, we are faced with the desire to fit in. We want so badly to be deemed acceptable by the world that we are willing to completely alter our personality and beliefs to feel welcomed. Instead of being true to ourselves we choose to be defined by the ideals of the world. I don’t think I need to tell you how dangerous this is.
Opinions at home. You may read that and think, How can opinions from family ever be bad? Well, more times than not this pressure from family can cause us to stray from the person God has designed us to be. While many values brought to us by our parents or grandparents can be helpful, often we are faced with pressure to all think the same way or behave the same. We must all have the same opinion and be acceptable in our parents’ eyes. Once again, this is not often a bad thing, but still it can dramatically affect how we learn and grow.
With all this pressure we are bound to crack. So how do we counter it? Well, we must change who we look to for guidance. While friends and family may be helpful, our first source for guidance should always be God. He, as our Creator, knows us better than anyone. His opinion is the only one that ultimately has weight. His is also the only opinion that always has our best interest at heart. Instead of opinions that break us, God’s opinions shape and mold us into priceless gems.
My challenge to you today is to be honest with yourself about whose opinions you are listening to the most. I must admit that I find myself caring more about the opinions of man than God’s more often than not. Remember that the only opinion that really matters is His because He is the one who loves and cares for you the most. He is the one who has the best in mind for you and the only One that is worthy of complete devotion. His words should drown out all the noise of this world and give us peace in knowing that even if we don’t fit in here, we are fully loved and accepted by Him.