Wednesday’s Word: Opinions

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Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment. Sirach 3:24

 

“Don’t believe everything you think.” That’s what the sign says in my dentist’s office. It’s pretty good advice. We need to be able to trust ourselves, of course, but it’s important to keep an open mind while we check our opinions against reality.

 

For example, while I was growing up my parents did their best to pass on their work ethic and to teach me to help others. These are good values, but somewhere along the line my interpretation of these values got warped. I developed the opinion that all work and no play was not only noble, but anything less made me a slacker and that the right thing to do was to consistently put my needs on the back burner so I could be helpful. My misconception led me to think that unless I was constantly productive, I was wasting time; if I wasn’t doing something for other people I was being selfish and useless.

 

I ended up exhausted, burnt out, and resentful, until a health challenge rendered me barely capable of getting out of bed for several months as I recuperated. My physical ability to function was severely limited. My self-esteem took a nose dive. What was I worth if I couldn’t work hard or help others? Why would anyone want to bother with me if I wasn’t useful? What was my purpose in life? It was a turning point in my attitude—a much needed turning point. I had to admit that perhaps I had felt somewhat superior to others who couldn’t–or simply weren’t inclined–to work their fingers to the bone.

 

As family and friends continued to love me in spite of my less-productive state, I began to feel reassured. Our value as human beings goes so much deeper than our talents and abilities. We are worthy of love and of our place on this planet because our Creator loved us into existence. I began to learn humility. Being able to genuinely help others with no strings attached only happens when I am taking care of myself. Putting others’ needs ahead of my own is just as wrong as putting my needs ahead of theirs. When we put God’s plan for us first, there is a balance. We need to give but we also need to receive.

 

I need to remember that I can be misled by my own opinions, no matter how strong they are. We’re all entitled to our own opinions, but it’s in our best interest to make sure those opinions aren’t distorted.

 

Prayer: God, grant me the clarity of a healthy perspective.

 

Reflection for sharing: When have you been misled by your own opinions? What might you be mistaken about today?

4 Responses to Wednesday’s Word: Opinions

  • I related to this in so many ways Barbara – I definitely have an misguided idea that if I am not buys I am not “accomplishing anything”. Plus, in my studies for my Moral Theology class Pope John Paul II has urged us not to place all our test in our own feelings or opinions, but to always check them against the reality of the Lord’s Gospel and the church’s teachings. Thanks for sharing!

    • bhosbach says:

      That’s a good point, Debbie. I’m told that spiritually wise people don’t generally go it alone but seek guidance and run their own thoughts by other spiritual mentors.

  • This is a very wise post with great advice. I’ve know people who give of themselves to others without thinking of their own needs. Whilst very generous and laudable; it isn’t always the right thing to do.

    God bless.

    • bhosbach says:

      Thanks for sharing, Victor. We need balance. It’s like breathing-we need to take in as well as give out.

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Meditations

But Jesus answered “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’” (Matthew 4:4)

 

All Bible quotes are from the Good News Translation unless otherwise noted.

 

It is reassuring that Jesus called fishermen and tax collectors to be his followers. These were laymen, not Scripture experts. It is wise to seek guidance from religious scholars and clergy who have studied Scripture to avoid errors in interpretation. But the Bible is also a gift given to each of us, to use as a basis for prayer and meditation.

 

I’m not a Biblical scholar; I’m an expert only on my own experience. Following the Scripture passage is a brief meditation along with a question or two as a springboard for your own reflections. Please feel free to share your own thoughts or insights on the passage by adding a comment. All comments are moderated, so please allow some time for your comment to be posted.

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