about me · theology

Restless Nights and Wandering Thoughts…

As I sit here late at night, I am restless. I can’t sleep, and my mind is racing…
It does that often.
I don’t know when that started, it may have been decades ago but I cannot recall. I know at the very least it began about five years ago when my worldview was shattered and flipped upside-down.

When things happen to someone, that are so earth shattering, it is wise to reevaluate one’s own existence. I did just that and my mind has been racing ever since. Only when I finally fall asleep does it stop, I’m thankful to rarely ever dream.

What has me thinking tonight? Well, many things but the item that has me writing this post has to do with a critique/comment my friends have been telling me for the last few years.

“You’re so opinionated Daniel.”

Sometimes I believe it is meant as a compliment, other times though…
I’m not sure.
The last few times it has been told to me, I know it must have been a negative critique… or so it always is perceived so to my ears. Is it a bad thing to be opinionated?

o·pin·ion·at·ed
/əˈpinyəˌnādəd/
adjective
  1. conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions.
    “an arrogant and opinionated man”
    synonyms: dogmatic, of fixed views, dictatorial, pontifical, domineering, pompous, self-important, arrogant; More

Well that is one dictionary’s definition… How about the Cambridge?

opinionated

adjective

US /əˈpɪn·jəˌneɪ·t̬ɪd/

That is the Cambridge dictionary’s American definition, not so negative… here is the English/UK
opinionated

adjective


UK
/əˈpɪn.jə.neɪ.tɪd
/
US /əˈpɪn.jə.neɪ.t̬ɪddisapproving

An opinionated person is certain about their beliefs, and expresses their ideas strongly and often:
He was opinionated and selfish, but undeniably clever.

There is a lot of negativity there in those definitions. Is this how people hear and understand my comments on subjects? No matter how hard I try to argue and discuss my opinions cogently, I come across as “opinionated and selfish,” or “conceitedly assertive?

This is definitely not my intention nor how I understand how I express my words. For me it comes from study and how I believe I should be regarding the things I am most assertive and “opinionated” about.
These particular things are not said in a conceited way mind you… If I may reference what I am talking about, a few citations are in order…
“Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have known me, you will know my Father too. And from now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:5–7 (NET)
That sounds, some  would argue, conceited… doesn’t it?

“I, I am the Lord,
and there is no deliverer besides me.
I decreed and delivered and proclaimed,
and there was no other god among you.
You are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.
From this day forward I am he;
no one can deliver from my power;
I will act, and who can prevent it?” Isaiah 43:11–13 (NET)

Is Israel’s God claiming by his own fiat that he is the only deliverer, no one is able to deliver from his power? He sounds pretty certain about his beliefs…

“Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:31–31 (NET)

Is this Paul whom we should be reprimanding for his opinionated arrogance or the God that has commanded it? I’m confused…

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:9–11 (NET) emphasis mine

There Paul goes again giving his opinion, and being quite rejectingly exclusive in the process!

Now, I don’t say this to defend particular opinions expressed; by me or anyone for that matter. I cite these things for a purpose, I do it with the intent to explain where my seemingly “opinionated” positions are found.

If I, as a child of God and seeking to be identified with God in Christ, am desiring to be more like Christ, i.e. sanctified… then certain traits of him I should be imbibing. To have an opinion, that is properly formulated, argued cogently and available to be discussed (see Job… the whole book), then it cannot be conceited, arrogant, pompous, self-important, domineering, et cetera.

When I began to reevaluate my life and the blithering garbage it was, I had to understand that where my opinions once were had been rooted in so much subjectivity that to defend them was arrogant.

I am proud and blessed to be what some may call “opinionated,” for the way I see it…

James 3:17–18 (ESV): “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

I am confident that God is wiser than I and knows what is true and how to argue that it is true. That is then how I must do it as well, and do so with opinionated confidence and not an opinionated arrogance. Perhaps those who are not imbibing this quality are lacking in confidence?

Or maybe, they are to doubtful of God’s prowess over his own creation.

Christians are opinionated… and supposed to be so.

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