Saturday, March 17, 2018

My Opinion Is God's Truth

I recently had the pleasure of having a friend of mine tell me and everyone else how wrong we are and how right they are. I just want to pause and reflect on something that came up in the ongoing conversation.

It all started when Stephen Hawking, an atheist, died, and I mentioned a quick RIP and then in brief passing said that now Mr. Hawking knows the answer to the great question. I certainly wasn't intending to enter into a theological dissertation, nor was I intending to advocate one particular view of the afterlife over the other. I just wanted to make a brief statement that I personally believe God is. Very general. Moving on.

Alas. Not to be.

A friend of mine (let's call him friend #1) appeared and started off by telling me that I and most everyone else was wrong on a particular view of the afterlife. The claim was that the Bible didn't support such and such a position. A second friend (let's call him friend #2) proof-texted a verse which clearly contradicted friend #1, and in all honesty did serious damage to friend #1's claim. If the Bible didn't support such and such a thing, then there would be no support, yet there it was. Friend #1, now ego-bruised, resorted to rhetorical statements like "I'm not going down to your level" and "I stand approved before God" and unto us didst provide quotations as II TIM. 2: 15 from the King James Version, forsooth.

So, in summary, friend #1 comes in to enlighten us all with their superiority and clearly itching for a hot debate, but when one was swiftly provided, friend #1 took on the mantle of the victim here. Guy with a knife started a gun fight, and then cried about how unfairly he was treated. Lovely little narcissistic victim mentality display there. I just have to relate that here because so help me if I had a nickel for every time I've witnessed in my life someone who pulled this same stunt I would not ever want for nickels again in all my days.

But it's not rushing in unprepared that I am on about. It's the attitude of "my opinion is God's truth."

Does God have a truth? Let's all agree, at least for the sake of argument, that a being who IS truth does indeed have a truth on any number of subjects.

But is it true that our personal interpretation is what determines God's truth? No. Not at all.

Yet I run into people all the time who have the attitude of "you aren't disagreeing with me, you're disagreeing with God."

Here's a quote from friend #1:
"If you aren't in agreement with the scriptures, that's your right. I have not put forth anything that contradicts God's word. If you disagree, take it up with him, I didn't write the book. As the scripture says, I do not have to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that many of you have experienced this. It creeps up among any number of very strong opinions. I experience this all the time. But I want you to notice something - he can't or won't make his case, so now he is the guardian of the deposit of faith on earth, and any disagreement with him is a frontal assault on the Lord Almighty Himself.

What is this? It's posturing. It's a bluff. It's a retreat. It's rhetoric.
But worse than that, it's self righteous.

I see this kind of feint all the time. 
All. The. Time. 
When people have a very strong attachment to a pet idea but don't really know what to do about other people who disagree, I think they just don't know what else to do but bluff.
Perhaps they are victims of confirmation bias. Perhaps they honestly thought the force of their personality was all they really needed. Perhaps they legitimately don't know there are any good reasons to disagree with them. Perhaps they just don't know when to stop.

I once talked to a guy who was passionate about a point. After a short discussion, he doubled down and claimed that nothing should be praised but God only. I disagreed, and explained why, referencing Philippians 4: 8. His response was that his opinion is God's righteousness. You see, I disagree with that, too. I think his position is his own righteousness.
He thought his opinion is God's truth. The guy had passion, but so did the Pharisees.

And that's just what I'm on about. There's no humility in this. There's no love. Please excuse me for this quote, but I feel I must -

(I COR. 13: 8-12) 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Sometimes we really think we know something but we are mistaken. Sometimes the innocent are condemned. Sometimes the diagnosis is incorrect. Sometimes the best intentions pave the road to hell. Sometimes there is a thing that seems right to a man, the ends of which are death (PRO. 14: 12). Guess what - we are flawed. Me too. We "see in a mirror, dimly" so to speak. Do you want to know what is an affront on the throne of God? The affront is for any of us to puff ourselves up with pride as if we have no flaws. I have witnessed so very many people saying something like, "You're not arguing with me, you're arguing with the Bible."

Another quote from friend #1:
"If you have a problem with what the word declares us to be, don't get upset with me, I didn't write the book. You took this to the level it got to by disagreeing with God's word, not me. It's okay to disagree with everything I posted, you have that right. ... I am approved, ... take it up with him if you don't agree."
People, just because we sincerely believe a thing doesn't make it true. There is indeed a right way to interpret the word, and there are many wrong ways. There are people who deeply hold to each position. How do we tell the difference? Do we tell the difference by a contest of who can make the most boastful fiat declarations of their approval before God? Definitely no. By quoting II Timothy about how rightly we divide? Certainly not. Then why be a person like what we see in this quote? Has this person stated their case, and given a reason for their interpretation, and considered other positions and other evidence? No. They never defended their position at all. Friend #1 rushed right in, made a baseless assertion, met resistance, and finally all but declared himself God's own personal spokesperson. Is that reasonable? Is that wise?

No human being besides Jesus alone has the right to claim My opinion is God's truth (because Jesus is God). God resists the proud, but gives mercy to the humble. Nothing is ever so hard and inflexible as pride. You know what happens to things this hard? They shatter! When a person so filled with themselves finds out they aren't the be all and end all, do you know what happens? They break to pieces. So we need to all be humble, and loving. Even to those we deeply disagree with.

(MAT. 5: 43-47) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

I get it. I do. We all have something we believe in deeply and we want others to believe it too. None of us believe something we know is a lie. There's a good reason someone coined the phrase, "Genuine, but genuinely wrong." But I urge you, whomever you are, never to resort to the prideful and self-defeating attitude of "my opinion is God's truth" that we see on display above. If there is anything we here at AsBereansDid have learned it's that we, each and every one of us, really do need to ask, "What if I am the one who's wrong here?"

If you're not wrong, then you're not wrong. Behave with grace. The truth can take care of itself. Have a strong opinion; nothing wrong about that. Temper it with love. But! if you are wrong, how could you know it and correct yourself if you think the Lord God decides the truth based on what you believe at any given time?

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom. ; )
Acts 17:11

1 comment:

xHWA said...

But I could be wrong. ;-)