So what is wrong about being opinionated? Opinionated is defined as: conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one's opinions. Synonyms of opinionated are dogmatic, of fixed views, pontifical, domineering, pompous, self-important and arrogant. An opinionated person is certain about their beliefs, and expresses their ideas strongly (Cambridge English Dictionary).
When we define the word and see its synonyms it does not begin to look so good. Before I go further, I sadly admit that I can be opinionated. So my first admonition is to myself. My opinions can become so strong that there appears to leave any room for disagreement. I have had to come to the startling realization that I do not know everything, nor am I always right about everything.
Self-confessing out of the way, I want to ask, is there a dose of opinionatedness among God’s people? And, does that opinionatedness often hurt others? My observation is that few problems among God’s people are because of disagreements about truth. But many, if not most, are because of our being opinionated.
“In my opinion he/she is wrong, and I must let them know that.” "In my opinion, it should not be done that way.” "In my opinion, they cannot do it right.” "In my opinion, that is the wrong color.” "In my opinion, we should not build that.” “In my opinion, he did not say that right in his prayer.”
We all have an opinion, but the problem comes when that opinion begins to express itself in ways that are destructive to others. That disposition says, “What I think is more important than what you think; my opinion is right and yours is wrong.”
A few suggestion about how to handle our opinionatedness:
- Make sure we have the moral authority to approach someone with our opinion, and that the person knows we truly care about them.
- Seek understanding, not necessarily agreement. That is, seek to win through persuasion rather than being dogmatic.
- Seek to encourage. When we walk we must leave the person standing, not pushed down.
When we boil it down, our opinions are tied to our emotions. When our emotions are stirred we react rather than build.