The problem with opinions is that anyone can have one. We require lessons and licensing to drive a car, but any fool can wield opinions.
Determining the validity of opinions is a challenge. Ironically, we can precisely rank the speed of racing turkeys twice a year, but we struggle to quantify the value of the dozens (if not hundreds) of opinions we encounter on a daily basis.
In the absence of a specific opinion rating methodology, our brains have developed a nifty work around. It’s called confirmation bias. In other words, we automatically believe opinions that bolster our preconceived ideas, and we instantly toss out ideas that challenge our own opinions.
For example, most of us will readily accept opinions that reinforce our pre-existing notion that the Twins are the best team in baseball, and we flat out reject viewpoints suggesting that Minnesota is a lousy place to spend winter. Unfortunately, as was just illustrated, confirmation bias is problematic when it unconsciously discounts logic and evidence.
Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have made trillions of dollars solving problems, and they think they’ve found a fine solution to this age-old problem of evaluating opinions. They simply cancel the opinions that don’t fit their accepted narratives, and then take steps to make sure the offending opinionator is never able to opinionate again.
Many people initially like this solution, especially if the preferred narrative fits their preconceived opinions and confirmation biases, because it cuts down the noise caused by pesky conflicting ideas so that their own opinions can be better heard by others. The problem, of course, is that it won’t be long until their opinion is considered dangerous background noise and joins the ranks of the cancelled. As history repeatedly shows, sooner or later there’s only room for one opinion, and it probably won’t be yours.
The Bible offers a better solution for evaluating opinions, and it’s quite simple and easy to remember. It comes from 2 Timothy 2:16, which says “Avoid godless chatter.” Each of these words are packed with wisdom:
AVOID: Although it grates against our instinct (for some of us, at least), most of the time there’s no reason to crush those who have bad opinions. All you need to do is avoid them. The following steps will help you identify bad opinions, and once you do, realize that they don’t need to control or even influence you. You have a ton of leverage to tune out, walk away from, or steer clear of opinions that will drag you down. For even better results, avoid bad opinions by filling your life to the brim with good opinions (even good opinions that challenge your own good opinions).
GODLESS: This simply means any ideas that do not flow out of, or are incompatible with God’s Word. These types of opinions bombard you from all different angles, but sometimes they can be hard to spot. The best way to recognize godless opinions is by becoming very familiar with godly principles, which are found in the Bible. Then the bad ideas begin to stick out like a yellow cheese head in the middle of a bunch of purple people eaters.
CHATTER: This word could also be translated as ‘empty noise.’ If you’re wondering what empty noise sounds like, it’s what’s emanating from your television about 95% of the time. Instead of listening to pointless fluff, find conversation partners who build you up and challenge you. Pro Tip: while you’re working on avoiding the empty noise producers in your own life, make sure you’re not the one annoying other people with godless chatter.
Chad Werkhoven is pastor at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. Today they are reading 2 Timothy 3 in their daily Bible reading plan. Dig deeper at wgtncrc.org/bible.