Opinions! Like noses, everybody has one. Some opinions are good and some not so good. What is an opinion? Simply put, an opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Most opinions are influenced by experiences, surroundings – home, church, school, work, etc. – and interactions with others.
A fact, on the other hand, has objective content and is well-supported by the available evidence. And to be clear, some opinions are based on facts in an honest attempt to draw a rational conclusion built on supporting evidence.
So we can conclude that facts are well-supported by the available evidence, whereas opinions can be supported by evidence, but can also be formed by other non-factual criteria. Sounds confusing, right?
I thought so too, so I Googled “facts vs. opinions” to perhaps find a standard explanation.
“Fact: statement of actuality or occurrence. A fact is based on direct evidence, actual experience, or observation.”
“Opinion: statement of belief or feeling. It shows one’s feelings about a subject. Solid opinions, while based on facts, are someone’s views on a subject and not facts themselves.”
Therefore, to say something like, “vegetables are good for you” would be a fact because it has been proven by direct evidence (what’s more, mom said so, and that’s good enough for me). Opinions express a statement of belief about something. For example, it’s an opinion that vegetables taste good.
But, wait. If I have a liter of Seven-Up in my fridge, and I believe there is Seven-Up in my fridge, is that just an opinion? It’s disturbing to think that according to the societal standard my beliefs are nothing more than my personal opinions. The distinction between fact and opinion is ambiguous to say the least. And apparently the venerated “Google-god” is just as confused as the rest of us.
When I was a wee lad, I was bitten by a German Shepherd dog. Bad doggie! How did this affect my programming? The German Shepherd breed is, in my opinion, a dangerous animal to have – especially around children. I would never own one. Is my opinion based on fact? I don’t know because I never did the research. But my opinion stands. It’s a fact – I don’t like them. My apologies to Rin-Tin-Tin.
I bring this matter of opinion to your consideration for good reason, but first, let me ask you a question. How many times, while engaged in a public or private discussion, have you introduced God into the conversation either directly or indirectly and heard, “That’s just your opinion.”?
If you are a Christian walking in and faithful to the truth, you’ve likely encountered these words on several occasions. On the surface, this accusation appears to be true – according to the world’s standard. But is it? Or is there another motive for its use?
The Danger of “Just Your Opinion”
Despite its vague meaning, the claim “That’s just your opinion” has a clear purpose: it is a conversation-stopper. It’s a way to impugn a claim, reducing it to a mere matter of personal bias which lies beyond discussion.
It is a well-used tool of the enemy.
Not only is this label used to belittle and deflate your stance, but it can also cause less-experienced believers to reason, “it is just my opinion and it’s no better than anybody else’s.” Instead of standing up for their beliefs, they buckle to the fear of imposing their mere “opinions” on others.
We can never lose sight that we are in a spiritual war, and the battle is raging all around us. The battle we fight is for the thoughts and hearts of the unsaved. But we also fight for the integrity of God’s Word.
Our adversary, the god of this world, has devised a well-thought campaign to deceive and enslave people’s minds. He orchestrates his plan by manipulating words, images, and ideas. He promotes lies as truth and truth as lies through false logic and false doctrines. And his target is always truth. His assault on truth is relentless, and for good reason:
Jesus says to him, “I the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through me.”– John 14:6 REV
It is only through trust in the truth that people can be saved. Only truth sets people free. The Evil One is the father of lies who seeks to take captive the minds of men.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”– John 8:32 REV
As believers, we are Ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been commissioned to speak as representatives of Jesus Christ here on earth and we can destroy the arguments of false logic with the light of truth.
We are destroying arguments and every high-minded thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to Christ.– 2 Corinthians 10:5 REV
When we speak God’s Word, we are not voicing our human opinions. The Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, sharp enough to make judgements about life.
For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even piercing as far as the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to judge the considerations and intentions of the heart.– Hebrews 4:12 REV
When it comes to the moral issues that are so prevalent today, we have an obligation to voice our opinions when those opinions are founded on the truth of God’s Word. We are instructed to admonish and warn others when we see they are involved in harmful behavior or being seduced by false logic.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom,– Colossians 3:16a REV
We do this with wisdom and by speaking the truth in love.
But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, Christ,– Ephesians 4:15 REV
Many times people are not even aware of the evil that is attempting to enslave them through false logic and false doctrine.
“Wickedness will not allow those who practice it to escape.”– Ecclesiastes 8:8 REV
How To Respond
How should you respond to someone who tries to silence you by reducing your statement of truth to mere opinion? A carefully-crafted response is needed to regain your credibility. “It is written” seemed to work for Jesus. I think it can work equally as well for us, albeit we might craft it in other words like, “God’s Word says,” or other language to your liking. Personally, as Jesus Christ’s representative, I like “it is written.”
Any way you choose to say it, two very clear implications are being made:
First, this is not my human opinion that I am stating – it is the truth of God’s Word.
(The statement, “It is written,” was used throughout the Bible to verify that what was being said was God’s Word, not the words of man or man’s opinion. “It is written” is the stamp of validity from the highest authority on any subject, God.)
Second, it is now the hearer’s choice to accept it or reject it.
When you speak the words of God from a heart of love, you shed the light of truth upon a subject. This light can destroy arguments of false logic intended to lead people into slavery. You never know what shackles the truth will unlock on those who hear it.
Remember, it’s not your mere human opinion when it’s truth that you speak. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by this obvious tactic to silence you from speaking the truth. In this evil day it is critical that all believers speak the truth in love regarding the lies being promoted.
This is not my opinion – it is written!