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Let’s Just Call It What It Is…

February 11, 2013

We all have opinions. That’s part of what makes us wonderfully unique. As we wrestle with our tangled thoughts sometimes one breaks free. An untangled thought of clarity. And something deep inside us says, “Yes, that thought fits me.”

So, we put it on and wear it.

Just as a soft jacket warms us in the chill of a winter wind, so does this clear thought. It feels good. It feels right. So, we own it. It’s our opinion.

But here’s what we must always remember. Opinions and truth aren’t always the same.

Truth isn’t skewed by feelings. Opinions sometimes are.

Truth isn’t shaped to fit us and make us feel good. Opinions sometimes are.

Truth isn’t our personal “nanny nanny boo boo” to those who hurt us. Opinions sometimes are.

I’ve recently seen several articles where the writers climb up on their soap box mislabeled “truth” and blast other Christians. Through the thinly disguised efforts to “hold this person accountable”, they judge. Harshly.

They tap, tap, tap their keyboards stringing WARNING words for all to see. And they are proud for the “good” they have done for their readers.

But honest to goodness, that’s not at all what it is. It’s not good. It’s selfish.

When you hold someone accountable, you want the best for that person. You use truth to navigate whatever issue there may be. And you do it person to person. You don’t broadcast their issues to the world hoping to gather a mob, throw a spot light, and relish in pointing out a perceived flaw.

That’s not accountability. That’s attack. And that’s what I saw.

I saw attempts to tear down the credibility of the person being discussed. I saw opinions being used as if they were truth.

And here’s what’s really interesting. With each article, the person writing it had no real credibility in the very area they were spewing their opinions.

Someone who had never led an organization, was criticizing the decisions of a leader.

Someone who had never written a published book, was criticizing the writing of an author.

Someone who had never preached a sermon, was criticizing the teaching style of a preacher.

Here’s my guess… at some point in their lives the critic attempted to lead, write, or preach and felt like a failure afterwards.

That feeling helped form an opinion.

And that opinion helped the critic feel a little better about themselves until the success of another fueled some sort of jealousy.

And instead of being honest about their jealousy and dealing with it, they sought to tear down the one who had what they wanted.

What a warning to us all. What a warning to me, personally. I must be especially careful, careful, careful with my opinions formed from my failures.

Opinions. They can be good. But they can also be, not so good. Especially when our supposed clarity is the very thing that clouds truth. And hurts others.

Oh God, help us see the difference between our frail, sometimes faulty opinions and Your rock solid truth.

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  1. Julia

    A.M.E.N. It bugs me when I hear others doing this – and yet I’ve been guilty of having these types of “opinions” more times than I’d care to recognize. Bottom line, if it isn’t done in love, it’s likely not the right thing to do. This post is a great reminder to us all. Thanks.

    • Patrice simmons

      I agree, we should be slow to speak and quick to listen. Its a sad thing that alot of people want to judge others for faults and how they choose to handled things, then say am only giving my opionion. Which isnt always need. Instead lets pray more and encourge eachother. God only can judge.

  2. Sue

    This is a very much needed article to be read by everyone I know, and entities I do not know personally. The media, celebrities, people that read and watch TV shows that give opinions on anything. There has been lots of jealousy, envy, anger, pithiness, hatefulness out there. And it all boils down to opinion and skewing truth. Thank you for this article. Meant a lot to me to read it this morning!

  3. Sheri Baerresen

    Good Morning Lysa!

    It is an honor to pray for you, your family, your staff, your ministry, your fellow sisters in Christ and your critics. I thank the Lord daily for you and His calling on your life. You have a tremendous impact on all who are blessed to know you. I thank you for always being “real” …Our God is real and He continues to use you and your writings, your webcasts and speaking events in mighty, mighty ways!! We know that this threatens the source of all evil and that he is always on the prowl waiting to attack. Let’s all rebuke Satan in Jesus’ precious name today. The victory has already be won! Praise Jesus! As we continue to grow closer to the Lord each day, help us to also remember the one who is desperately trying to cause destruction…He has not been invited to interrupt our day, let’s kick him out each and every morning and put on the Armor of God. We thank you Lysa for your dedicated service and your humble witness with every heart beat that He has given you…WE LOVE YOU!!

  4. Connie DeVault

    Amen Lysa!! Preach it Sister! I really do believe it is the success and favor Of God on a persons life that causes the one who tried in that area and failed to “form opinions” that are born out of jeoulsy and envy. Right from the pit! Then they take on the form of “speaking the Truth in love” yet instead of speaking to the one whom the have the issue with the tell every one else to beware of this “false teaching” or “false Prophet” It is scandoulous! and Oh! how it makes me crazy! Gal 6:1-If someone is caught in sin you who are spiritual should restore gently..but watch yourself or you may also be tempted… and James 5:16 “Confess you sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed” Differences in opinions are inevitable but Spiritual unity is essential! Without unity the the Church will not survive! Unity also makes us a positive example to the world! And in reality isn’t that what it’s all about? “So that those who are far from God will come to Him? To be drawn to Him? If they see a body of believers bickering and finger pointing they will not see Christ in us. We must realize that we have a common purpose that is bigger than our differences. We must keep our eyes on Jesus! Jesus Himself said above all have love for one another and by this all will know that you are mine. (paraphrased) John 13:34-35 Sorry Lysa, I know I am preaching to the choir,:) but something inside just starts stirring when I hear of things like this. I have seen way to much damage in this and way too many people get hurt and walk away from their faith and when this happens, the enemy wins…and I will not let this happen! I will declare That He is greater than and I will stand in the gap for those whom are falsey accused and cover them with prayer and pray to shut the mouth of the accuser of the brethren!! Amen! Whew! Love ya sweet friend Lysa, and keep doing what you are doing ..You are making a difference and shining the Light of Christ into the darkness… iin my life and many others..thank you for your obedience to Our Lord.

  5. Jeanne

    My husband and I have been struggling in our church – this goes on weekly in sermons, gossip, etc. It is so wrong. Maybe I recognize it because I’m sure I have done it myself at some point in my life – not proud of myself for sure. It’s easy to get drawn in. To hear it from the pulpit is another issue altogether!!

  6. Tam

    Lysa, I love this post! I also like the comment made by Julia: “…if it isn’t done in love, it’s likely not the right thing to do.” Also very well-said. It really makes me think before I respond to harsh comments, and before I issue one myself. Thank you.

  7. Dayna

    So very true and well put. These are the very things that fuel gossip. It’s so easy to fall into the temptation to gossip. Maybe you even think you aren’t gossiping but just commenting on someone else’s gossip. I try to think about if what I’m saying is true and helpful or hurtful.

  8. Kathy

    I couldn’t agree with you more. My heart hurts when I see these kind of things online. I used to just be so turned off by the attack that I simply got out. Out of church, out of organizations, out of … everything. Just out. And then my opinion was born, out of hurt, anger and judgment. I have learned that people sometimes take those hurts or failures and do exactly what you describe here. I try — really try hard — to see where they might be coming from. And while my opinion of them often isn’t very charitable, I try hard not to spread it anywhere. I know Jesus calls us to love — everyone. And so, I pray for that person. I also stay away from them, but I don’t quit the whole organization anymore. God is faithful and I trust Him to right the wrongs. I know how He has worked at the “ugly” in my life and trust that He will do it in the lives of others. I have enough experience of His discipline — and His grace — now to know that He always loves me, and He always loves everyone else — even when their “ugly” is showing.

    Bless you and whoever was hurt by the opinions of someone else. I pray healing and comfort for you.

  9. Charlene

    Great post – thanks! This is a good reminder that at all times we need to be seeking God’s best, not just for ourselves, but for everyone He places in our lives!

  10. Rhonda

    I have an opinion of a woman at our church who I am now sure I am jealous of. She is a well-respected leader in our circle of friends. I have kept said opinion between my husband and me. Yesterday our Sunday School leader asked me to organize a birthday surprise for this woman. Her birthday is on the same day as mine!! How dare they! It’s time for me to grow out of this problem. Your post doubly confirmed that. You peeled back my covers and exposed me! Thank you for keeping me accountable! Please pray that I can let go of my invalid “opinion” and let God replace it with His Truth in my heart. What a wonderful Valentine’s gift that would be!!

  11. Stephanie

    The reality is for everyone who adores you someone will tear you down. It keeps us from getting to full of ourselves from praise and depressed from too much criticism – everything is always in perfect balance. Expecting no criticism is a one-sided expectation and perception, setting yourself up to be aggravated. See the ways criticism is serving you. What you don’t love controls you.. 🙂 Much Love, Steph

  12. Lucille

    Wow! This post was competely Spirit led…I love how you worded exactly what I have been sensing for a long time. You are a wise woman Lysa and I pray together with you, “Oh God, help us see the difference betweenour frail, sometimes faulty opinions and Your solid rock truth.”

  13. Kristy K.

    It’s always best to just pray for that situation (not blog about it) and let God handle it. He sees all and knows all and it just seems like selfishness on both sides.

  14. sallie sparks

    Thank you Lysa! You wrote from the Spirit’s guidance on this topic and I’m very grateful for your obedience. So many times I see and experience the very situations you shared and I think the same things you were able to put so succinctly into words! I am so blessed that you allow God to use you and you listen for His guidance! May we all guard our ‘opinions’ closely, especially when sharing in our media driven world!

  15. Denise

    Thank you Lysa! You always have such good sense! I needed to hear this!

  16. Jennifer

    You are such a conduit of Jesus in my life! I needed this message today – it applied to a situation that I’ve been dealing with for 6 months a work…and how empowering it was for me to see their actions as jealousy. It gives me a more convicted heart to pray for them. bless you Lysa, for your messages. Strait from God. Amen!

  17. Debbie Wilson

    The difference between spirit led discernment and opinions resonating is the authority of the word of God. Spiritual gifts are to be used in the body of Christ. I don’t think everyone who gives their input is jealous. Jesus wasn’t qualified to be a teacher as a man in the eyes of the world. He was a carpenter, untaught, unlearned in the circles of the pharisees so they believed. God’s Holy Spirit is the One who teaches us all things. I John 2:27 There will be prophets in the body of Christ for exhortation, edification and comfort. Some will be as Jonah and Jeremiah warning of God’s judgement. Discernment as a gift usually is within a watchman who sounds the alarm to false teaching and wolves in sheeps clothing. Combining the two gifts we are then moved to repentance. Just as a person who has the gift of mercy, these gifts are crucial to the body of Christ. But in the maturity of God’s Holy Spirit living within and carefully listening to His instructions and voice.

  18. Cathy Staurovsky

    Dear Lysa,

    Love all your articles and posts sent to me each day. They are awe inspiring and just what we need to hear but sometimes forget, and get tangled up in the very same thing you spoke about. Thank you for all your God filled words. I appreciate and love how God fills your heart to touch on so many great posts. God bless you an may the Lord continue to watch over you and your family every day. Amen my sister in Christ!!!

  19. LC

    Thank you for sharing this today! I have been blessed by it and intend to share with a dear friend who is struggling with a very critical family member. She has been harshly judged to the to point it has hurt her and damaged their relationship. It is a shame someone must prove they are right at the expense of the ‘truth’ as in this case. When we do this, we inevitably put ourselves in a similar situation that sets us up to fail. Judgement should only come from God and it is up to us to take it up with HIm. Sometimes a judgmental, condescending Christian can be the worse kind. Not many souls are won for Christ like this.

  20. Barbara

    Thank you for this post today. I had a dear friend whom I admire greatly explain to me once that when I find I dislike someone usually there is some quality in myself that I dislike and do not wish to see. I like the addition of hurts forming my opinions of others.

  21. Debbie

    Amen, Lysa! I, too, feel heartache when I hear someone criticizing. A wise lady who has had to bear a lot of criticism from others has said, “You don’t need to give your opinion about something that you have no responsibility for.” Instead of criticizing those with whom we disagree we should pray for them. Thank you for speaking truth to this problem.

  22. Lemon

    There are always 3 sides to every story. This side (opinion). That side (opinion). And the truth. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, as you stated. However, one must be transparent in what is opinion versus fact. Also, one must be keen to motive. Many writers criticize because frankly…its easy. Its easy to sit behind a computer screen and judge and critize versus in person. And many can “talk the talk” and not “walk the walk.” We act out on human nature without seeking God’s answer…too impatient to wait. I’m happy God placed this on your heart and you wrote to please Him, versus people. God Bless!

  23. Lisa

    Thank you for another great post. I was told by a dear friend that opinions are like noses, everybody has one but we don’t necessarily share them with everyone else! If you’re going to say something about someone, first ask yourself is it kind, is it it thoughtful, is it necessessary, would Jesus say it?
    I love your posts Lysa!

  24. Jelea

    Needed that today Lysa!

  25. nathan

    true. Did you speak directly to these people you have issue with?

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Yes, in love. Thanks for asking.

  26. true

    True! Lysa, were you able to speak directly to these who have inspired this post?

  27. Jennifer Lee

    I would really like to hug you. But I don’t actually know you personally. Oh well…. I can’t help it. I’m a’gonna stretch a hug across the cyber-miles anyway! (((LYSA)))) … 🙂

    Thank you. Truly. I’ve been so confused and saddened over so much of what I’ve seen lately. I appreciate this post more than words can express.

  28. Mary Ostyn (Owlhaven)

    Be careful of opinions formed from failures. Good thought. Thanks for writing!

    Mary, momma to many

  29. Karen Bracken

    This is so timely and well said. Public criticism and accusations of wrongdoing are definitely an attack. I like the way you compared that with holding someone accountable. These public attacks are not aimed at helping someone with a loving attitude. Sometimes we criticize authors, preachers and others in the public eye just like armchair quarterbacks. No matter how much you know about football, if you haven’t played or coached a team, you are not qualified to judge. I’ve seen how wounded my Pastor and his wife have been by such people. When they are in need, he is the one they call. He forgives and ministers to them. He is a great Pastor and follower of Christ.

  30. Heather Mertens

    I appreciate your writing this and wish more Believers believed and felt this way as it would keep us all in check as to how we treat others. That is exactly why I wrote this Open Letter to all Believers:

    We NEED to get back to Christ’s love and spread it, hug with it, smile with it, speak with it… LOVE with it.
    Thanks for this. Hope you get a chance to check out that short piece I linked to above. I really appreciate, as an author in the Lord, being encouraged by those with a similar calling like yourself.
    God bless,

  31. Tanya Villani

    Thank you our Father who is in Heaven hallowed be Your Name for speaking through Your daughter Lysa with an instructed tongue. Jesus was not about soapboxes/agendas He was about His Fathers business to save not the righteous, for there is on one who is righteous, but for sinners-habitual sinners, those lost, those who are full of holes/being made whole from within/without emotionally, spiritually, physically. No one who could ever live up to Gods expectations, except Jesus, with whom and in whom we live, move and have our being. Perhaps many of those who are on soapboxes and persuade others to jump on their bandwagon are angry/resentful/envious of someone who is doing what they really wanted to do but failed when God called them. “Anger is an emotional response to blocked goals. If a child doesn’t get what he wants, he gets angry. Lack of vision, lack of action, lack of leadership can cause anger. When someone has failed to do what God has given them to do and then someone else comes in and obeys.” ~Charles Price

  32. Rachel Beran

    Oh! Good, so good!

    When I start to judge (or share opinions) I remember something our pastor has told us (and it’s Biblical)…to look in the mirror first, before we judge outward we have to be sure we have judged ourselves (or hearts, thoughts and motives) correctly. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Cassie Hale

    Thank you for the timely reminder to be so very careful with my words! I am guilty of sometimes turning my opinion into Gospel as well. Yuck!

  34. Diane

    Dear Lysa, when I saw that you had re-posted your devotional about your daughter pleading to be homeschooled, I did a double take. My 13 yr old, whom I used to homeschool through 4th grade, has been pleading with me, too. Most recently, right before I opened that devotional. Then, I come to your blog so that I can comment to you about this, and your post is about a topic that is the content of my latest and most on-going trial ~ to be fodder for the worst kind of gossip and slander imaginable, if my perceptions are at all accurate. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Your devotionals help me in so many ways. May God richly bless you.

  35. Leigh

    Speak it girl! We can always count on you to tell it like it is- I truly admire & appreciate that about you 🙂

  36. Marie

    Great post. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this type of behavior time and time again in Christian circles….both online and in real life. When things get particularly ugly, some even take their arguments so far as to label the other camp “non-Christians” for their differing beliefs/convictions/opinions. What one says is an opinion, others say is truth. It is sad. It is unloving. Thank you for addressing this issue.

  37. Sheila

    Enjoyed reading your post,and unfortunately, this happens too often in the church, we all worship the same God, so why do some people become harsh and clicky in the church. We know this kind of thing is not preached or I hope not in the pulpit of our churches. May God wake us all up before he returns in the sky for his beloved church.
    Thank-you Lysa for caring for us and being concerned for all of us not just a few. I love you!

  38. Penny

    I liked this post. Thank you so much I have learned a lot from reading the articles and your books.

  39. Bonnie

    So very true and incredibly well-written, thoughtful and insightful. It is often painful to watch and hear people and many of them our leaders react to popular opinion instead of holding to the truth and it grieves my heart to think about what it will probably mean to us as a society – even the world as a whole – eventually. As we watch “truth” get tossed aside for popular opinion we know the consequences will be monumental whether it be on a “small” scale such as our own life or on a large scale such as a “world stage.” I have so struggled with maintaining that difference in my own life – trying to live by truth and not react with opinion based upon my feelings. It is a humbling road to walk.

  40. Brittany Lee Ketter

    I agree. I just wrote on something similar the other day.

    A few weeks ago, one of my teachers/pastors at school told our class this: “We are not God-like in the way we want to love. You want to be God-like in the way you judge. This should not be.”

    This world knows God as a God of judgment because we judge, and does not see the God of grace, mercy and unconditional love because we don’t carry it ourselves. Judgment separates. Love unites. As Christians we are seldom known for our radical love. We fail to abide in love. I believe that part of this is we have lost sight of the unsurpassable worth that people have. We have become promoters of good over evil instead of lovers of people.

  41. Esther

    A good reminder before we open our mouths. I know I have to really watch not only what comes out of my mouth but also what I let my mind think. So easy to form opinions of people when they are not there to represent themselves!

  42. Henrietta

    I am humbled by your blog. I believe the Holy Spirit led me here to teach me to be better. I appreciate you, Sister Lysa. God bless you.

  43. Kate

    A great lesson to learn and be reminded of how to speak truth in love – Lysa, thank you –

  44. Sharon

    Hi Lysa, Our church’s women’s group is doing your Unglued series (we did part 5 yesterday) and I thought I’d pop by and check out your blog and say hello. I wanted to tell you that the concept of Godly Honesty has been really helpful for me.

    I find that when something upsetting happens, if I try to respond from “me” it might not come out very well but if I shift my thinking and try to speak from “Godly Honesty” things come out so much softer and in a much more loving way.

    This evening my husband and I were practicing using both methods and it was pretty amazing to hear the difference between speaking from ourselves and speaking using Godly Honesty. Thank you for that.

    Regarding your blog post above, if those people that you mentioned came from a place of Godly Honesty, I bet their words would be so much better.

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