“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!…Therefore, as the tongue of the fire devours the stubble, and as the dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness , and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.” – Isaiah 5:20 & 24
Everyone has an opinion on most everything, do we not? We may keep silent about it, or, on the other hand, make it known, even if only to selected audiences. Yet, if we are silent, we still harbor an opinion in unexpressed thoughts. The dictionary defines “opinion” as “a belief, a judgment, or way of thinking about something: what someone thinks about a specific thing.” The Scripture, knowing the nature of man, expresses a judgment on some bad personal opinions: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” To do this one must have an opinion which turns the right (godly) value to its opposite. Your opinion on a matter or thing is a moral judgment; it is a matter of integrity, whether or not you have sought the truth, the facts, of the thing or person upon which you render an opinion.
Too often we are far too quick to verbalize opinions without searching out the matter. We do not see the issue or the person fully. We need to be prone to think and meditate first, instead of quick to speak, thinking, often erroneously, that we know already all there is to know. “Judge not less you be judged,” is not an indictment upon holding an opinion. This Scriptural admonition is too often misunderstood. We all must develop our belief system; a right belief system. It is the nature of being human to hold beliefs about things and people with which you come in contact. The sin arises when you judge a person negatively who does exactly what you also do at other times. This is why this verse is put in the context of the speck or log in your own eye as you judge another for what is in theirs. This warning does not in the least forbid you from seeking out a true judgment or opinion; it does warn you about avoiding hypocrisy in coming to a judgment. Opinions are not trivial matters; they guide the thoughts and actions of your life, what you do with your time and with whom you spend it.
Often we use the description “opinionated” negatively, especially about those people who are very quick and outspoken to tell you what their opinion is. But the fact is, we all are “opinionated” to some degree, either giving our opinions thoughtfully on one hand or precipitously on the other. In so doing we need to be cautious to have a good opinion of what is truly good, and an evil opinion of what is evil. Reversing them brings the proper judgment of God. The only way to render honest judgments and opinions is to draw near to the heart and mind of God. The only way to do that is to read often and meditate upon His Word. You must judge what others tell you about a matter or person, whether it is true, reasoned, carefully vetted in light of the value system of God. You cannot despise (i.e. ignore, lack knowledge of, dislike, hate) the Word of the Holy One of Israel, and come up with a correct opinion. Those who do despise His Word are those who call evil good and good evil. In our present day culture it appears that a majority think this way.
Those influenced in their thinking by a fallen culture, by the popular way of the world, rather than by the knowledge of the Creator God, will form an opinion that meets the world’s standards. Such will put good for evil and evil for good, darkness for light and light for darkness, sweet for bitter and bitter for sweet. It will turn upside down God’s view of the gold standard of His world in favor of stubble and dross, gussied up to be appealing to the rebellious. Those whose opinions are so formed will inherit what they sow, roots of rottenness and blossoms of dust. The sudden realization of this will be absolutely devastating. On the other hand, for you who revere His name, your end and results will be dramatically the opposite; as proclaimed in the final chapter of Malachi, “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings, and you will go out like calves released from the stall,” leaping for joy, skipping and jumping in the wondrous freedom of true sons and daughters of the saving God.
It matters what you think, the opinion you draw of things and people, the judgment you have of this world and its practices, and the opinions you form of the righteous things and people guided by the Word of God and its standard. There is a difference!
“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take him at his word; just to rest upon his promise, and to know, “Thus saith the Lord.” Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him! How I’ve proved him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust him more!”
(1st verse of Louisa Stead’s hymn, “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” 1882)
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