Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Our present society affirms opinions as if they were facts. When I was growing up, you had to earn the right to share an opinion. Perhaps some of that was inappropriate, but people were willing to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. The masses understood that some people, in every area of life, had more education, experience, and natural ability than others. They would listen to and often differ to the authoritative person. Not so much today.
Authority is viewed with distrust if not outright derision. Without authorities to speak, opinion fills that gap and becomes fact. Dan Pedersen, in his article, “Why Opinions Are Overrated (even “expert” opinions)” shares, “I’m a former hockey player and I’ve been following the game of hockey for almost 30 years. Most of the pundits on T.V. who comment about hockey are former professional players. They should be more knowledgeable about the game than me. Yet I often hear them say ridiculous things. It’s because they have to say something.” With social media providing the avenue, and with the dearth of respected authorities, everyone is expected to have an opinion on everything.
The same is true of the Christian faith. When I was growing up, and even in the early part of my pastoral ministry, most of the faithful understood that pastors had special training and their authority would be trusted. They did not trust blindly the vast majority of the time, but still wanted to learn from the trained clergy. Now, without authorities, even if trained, religious opinion from anyone has become fact. This statement has become fact: “My God wouldn’t be that way.” With no authority and only opinion, with everyone expected to say something, everyone’s opinion becomes “sacred.”
Today, pray for our society to stop confusing opinion with fact. Even if our human authorities have let us down for so long that we can no longer trust, please pray that people will turn back to God’s divine authority. Ask God to give us the faith and patience to refrain from sharing our opinion on every subject under the sun. Seek Divine guidance from those who know more on a subject than you or me. Then, always seek God’s understanding on every issue in life, because God doesn’t hold opinions, but is “the truth, the way, and the life.”