I have a friend who is opinionated about everything. Literally everything. She has told me her thoughts on what people should eat at Thanksgiving (she’s not a fan of the traditional fare). She has specific takes on various events and gatherings we’ve attended — and usually her thoughts are the opposite of most people around her. Despite this, she never shies away from sharing her opinions no matter how unpopular they may be.
You might think my friend annoys me, but she doesn’t. I appreciate how she shares her opinions. She is blunt, but not overly passionate. She always has a well-thought-out argument, but she doesn’t look down on anyone with another opinion. I can disagree with her all I want — and I have many times — but it doesn’t bother her. She extends the same respect toward others’ opinions that she hopes they extend toward hers.
Am I too opinionated?
We live in an opinionated age, with groups that were once close-knit growing more fractured, and opposite sides stretching further apart. There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion: it’s good for us to know and be aware of our own convictions. But can we grow in the areas where we differ from others? Can God teach us through opinions that don’t match ours? Here are a few questions to keep in mind when we think about sharing our opinions with others:
Am I willing to honor others even when we disagree? My friend always hears me out. She listens to my reasoning without interrupting and tells me when she agrees with something I’ve said. Of course, then she tells me why she thinks I’m wrong. But I never walk away from our conversations feeling like I’ve been in a verbal fight. I can tell that she respects me as a person despite our differing opinions.
Am I willing to learn from others’ opinions — and change my own if necessary? Sometimes it feels like agreeing with someone else is admitting defeat. But that only goes to show that we were in a fight, not a conversation. Besides, if we are wrong about something we should want to change, right? Let’s commit now to being willing to humbly change our opinions if someone shows us that we’re wrong.
Do I care more about making my case than I do about loving the person I am speaking with? This can be a tough one to remember. As we focus on our own opinions and the conversation heats up, we sometimes get too eager to prove our own rightness and the logical impressiveness of our position. But even if we really want to change the other person’s opinion on an issue, we need to remember that we will never do that by hyper-focusing on our own words. We must approach the other person out of a genuine concern for and interest in them. Even if they don’t come around to our way of thinking, they’ll see that we care.
Sometimes we need to speak up. There are times when we must communicate truth that runs deeper than our own personal opinions. But no matter how important the issue, no matter how true our words are, we can always choose to share our opinions — and convictions — with love and humility.
As we share opinions with the people closest to us, we’ll also be learning more about who they are and what is important to them. Learning about them can be just as important as sharing with them our perspectives.
At least, that’s my opinion. You can disagree if you want.