Your Opinions Are Irrelevant, Your Actions Matter More
What do you believe? What is your value system? What drives your daily decisions and what are you most passionate about in your life? Well, according to the Bible, when it comes to human interactions, as long as we approach one another with love and respect, it doesn’t matter what we believe.
My favorite disciple, from the Bible, is Paul. He came late to the scene and was a harsh critic and persecutor of early Christians. He converted after a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ and became the catalyst for spreading the gospel beyond the Jewish people. He was the “union representative” of the gentiles.
I love Paul’s insights and writings, especially in his letter to the Romans, about 30 years after Christ’s death. In Romans 14:13-14, Paul writes, “Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is.”
Life is difficult. It’s hard and we struggle daily to balance our actions and beliefs. We’re insecure, we’re fearful, and we’re hurting. We develop our beliefs based on our experiences and relationships. We struggle to understand one another as we view each other through a biased lens that is extremely narrow in scope and perspective. I’ve dedicated my adult life trying to master human dynamics and to understand why people do and say the things they do. So far, I’ve concluded that the common basic need for all humans is to be encouraged and loved.
Paul goes on to say in Romans 14:19-21, “So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.” It’s easy to find fault and criticize, but there is no power in it. When we come together and relate with one another, why is it our focus to find fault in one another and to challenge another’s beliefs before we fully understanding the person’s journey?
What if we altered our approach and challenged less and accepted more? What if we led our days with encouragement and ultimately love? God commands it, Jesus Christ validated it, and Paul reminds us in his letter.
When you find yourself at odds with someone, is it important to be right or is it more important to build and strengthen the relationship? Nobody wins when in perpetual conflict with others and no one has an endless supply of energy. Why not focus your energy on building others up, instead of tearing others down? Your opinion matters, but not as much as the relationship, for the strength of your relationships will determine your ultimate success.
If you want to be successful, then stop finding fault in others and encourage them instead. With that said, I will be the first to say that I’m guilty of this. It’s easy to find fault, especially when it justifies my own failures. Blaming others is the easy road, but taking ownership is much harder. I have strong opinions and I disagree with others on many occasions and it feels good to prove others wrong, but when I go that route, I ultimately lose and I damage the relationship. I make conscious decisions to check myself every day and consider the relationship first, before I consider the argument. It’s hard, but necessary if I want to ultimately achieve my goals and honor God along the way.
The next time you find yourself in conflict, consider the other person, consider the relationship, and consider keeping your opinions to yourself and you will find a greater joy and a stronger purpose along the way. Who will you encourage today?