Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame. The California roll is the best sushi roll. In-N-Out is a pretty good burger but nothing to go out of your way for. Ben Affleck is a really good actor. Audio books are the best thing to listen to while exercising or driving.
These are some of my opinions, and I have a lot more of them. I’m happy to share them with you if you’d like, as I’m sure you would with me. We know what we think about food, culture, sports, and host of other things, and most likely the things I think and feel aren’t the same thing that you think and feel. We might even have a vigorous debate on some of these things, but in the end, it’s okay if we think differently.
Because these are opinions.
Once upon a time, we didn’t know what each other thought and felt about everything. In fact, finding out about the opinions of others was one of the main ways we got to know each other. It was only through an actual conversation that we discovered whether you thought coffee was essential or gross, whether the Dodgers were a terrible franchise, or whether you preferred mid-century modern or colonial home styles. But now now.
Now opinions are broadcasted. And once they are, we get to see how popular or unpopular that opinion is based on how many electronic affirmations it receives. Perhaps that proliferation of opinions we now have trouble distinguishing opinions from other things. Like truths.
This is an important distinction to make, perhaps especially for the Christian. An opinion is a matter of taste; it is generated inside of ourselves. From our feelings. Our thoughts. Our tastes. But a truth not based in ourselves; it’s based in an outside source of truth – the Word of God. An opinion answers the question, “What do you think?” while a truth answers the question, “What does the Bible say?”
When we fail to recognize that difference, all kinds of destruction follows. Relationships are destroyed as we berate the intelligence or morality of someone who doesn’t share our opinion which is presented as truth. Credibility is ruined as we further someone else’s opinion presented as truth. And, in the end, hope is corrupted because we end up hoping for the fulfillment of someone’s opinion of what should happen rather than hoping in truth.
This is the real world scenario we are living in right now.
The last two years have revealed many things, but among them is the fervency with which we hold our opinions. We all have opinions about school, about mandates, about church – and we are willing to fight tooth and nail to defend them. In the middle of all that fighting, surely it would profit us to step back and ask ourselves the simple question:
Am I hoping in the fulfillment of my opinion, or am I hoping in something better?
Thing is, when you place your hope in your opinion of how things ought to go out there in the world, disappointment is inevitable. Because when what you think should happen doesn’t happen, you will be crushed. And when what you think should happen actually does happen, you will find that the result is not nearly as satisfying as you thought it might be.
On the other hand, when we recognize our opinions for what they are, then we are free to have our hope unencumbered by lesser things. So what is that hope?
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom. 8:1-5).
Our hope is in the glory of God. The glory of God that come about through all kinds of events, but specifically mentioned here, through the process that actually begins with suffering. Our difficulties and sufferings lead to the rock solid hope in the glory of God because it is through those difficulties that we are stripped of any competing source for hope.
All kinds of things will happen in the world, and both you and I will have our own feelings about them. But let us not confuse our opinions with our hope. Our hope – our real hope – is far better.