Dictionary definition of Opinion: A view or judgement that is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
I try not to develop opinions about people. When I do they’re usually wrong. I either elevate the person to something they’re not or develop a negative view of them. That view makes me want to punch them in the throat. This is where I have to humble myself, resist the urge to praise or punch them and have an honest conversation with the person. Setting my views of them aside and allowing them to reveal themselves.
For the people I elevate, I find they are way more awesome than I originally thought. They typically don’t want to be viewed in that way. Truly awesome human beings walk in humility, and have no need to puff themselves up with the opinions of others. Or I’ll find the person I’ve elevated doesn’t have the integrity to hold up the character they’ve chosen to show the rest of us. In these cases, those people do need to be lovingly punched in the throat. Most of the time it’s Jesus that needs to do the throat punching, not myself.
Now for the people I develop a negative opinion of. These are my favorite situations, because I’m the one that gets punched in the throat. This happens to me in two ways. The person I don’t know that I am pleasantly proven wrong about. Usually this a someone I’ve heard negative things about that I haven’t encountered myself. When I do have a conversation with that person my view is quickly changed. I then go lovingly punch the person who told me their negative opinion in the throat. Then there are people in high levels of leadership, that the enemy wants me to believe lies about. The enemy would love for us to think we have it more figured out than those ahead of us. But if we submit ourselves we’ll see the lies proven wrong. A great leader is willing to admit they need Grace just as much as the next guy. Negative opinions about leaders are almost always developed from gossip. That gossip is usually stems from jealousy of the platform that person has. We believe the gossip because of our own jealousy. If we want the platform another person has then we have to have the integrity and humility they have.
How do we fight our opinions? Let yourself be surprised. Allow people to be who they are. When we develop opinions about people we confine them. When we confine people we lose the joy of being able to see them walk out there calling. Possibly even preventing them from walking in their calling completely. In creating an opinion of someone we are creating a box they have to fit in. When they don’t fit in that box we get frustrated with them. Usually that frustration is expressed to them whether we know it or not. We have to understand the power our opinion can have over someone’s life. They can take your frustration and try to appease it. They are then becoming your opinion of them, rather than who God sees them as. Now this doesn’t mean don’t speak to another human ever again. See past your opinion to who that person is. Give people the freedom to be themselves. Stick to that facts, especially if you’re lovingly throat punching. Speak the truth in love, their negative behavior is because of a lie, opinion, they believe about themselves.
In some instances we get a glimpse of how awesome a person can be, then they don’t view themselves that way. They put themselves in the box of their own opinion. Take this as an opportunity to tell them what you see in them, loving throat punch. Speak the identity God has for them over their life. Some people simply don’t know how awesome they are. If we get people to realized the incredible identity God has for them, we will have people walking in power.
How about when someone has a negative opinion of you? This is where it get really fun! Situations like these are our greatest opportunity to come before God and ask what He thinks of us. Because of the Grace we have received, we don’t have to receive unloving throat punches. Understand why they have that view of you. It is rooted in some pain in their life that they haven’t dealt with. I have hammers in the shop that have all kinds of dings and marks on them, but they still do what they’re designed to do with just as much power. When we know who we are, we can allow the dings and marks to be there without conforming to their opinion. Our power doesn’t come from the opinions of others but the one who designed and formed us. We are designed to walk in power. We can only walk in that power if we are getting our identity from the designer.
What about when people have positive opinions about you? Humbly say thank you.
Abram believed an opinion he thought Pharaoh might have of him. So he told Sarai to pretend to be his sister. This brought plagues on Egypt and destroyed the possibility of a relationship between the two men. Joseph’s brothers acted on an opinion they had of him. They sold him into slavery and brought shame on themselves. Joseph never lost the power of the identity God gave him, even in slavery. Gideon defeated the Midianites with the identity God gave him. Jesus was able to go the cross because of the identity he has. He didn’t conform to the opinion the enemy had of Him. The cross was won when Jesus said no to satan’s temptation, when He was offered the world if He would bow the enemy’s high opinion of himself.
Genesis 12:10-20 and 37:18-36; Judges 6 and 7; Matthew 4:8-11