My parents were Dutch-Indonesian. The influence of both those cultures made it a habit at our house to leave our shoes by the door so that we wouldn’t track dirt inside. We even did that when we went to friends’ houses. For a while our own kids adopted that habit. It was viewed as inconsiderate to traipse into someone’s house with your shoes on. We don’t do that so much anymore. We wipe our shoes off on the welcome mat and then we just walk in. As a society, we do the same thing when it comes to our opinions. We don’t leave them at the door. We just bring them to bear on everything, especially when it comes to God and His Word.
We live in a world where opinion is king. If someone has even half a thought it can be aired on any number of social media outlets and in this this strange, opinionated world, every opinion carries equal weight no matter how devoid of substance.
Believers can fall prey to this culture as well when we start to counsel ourselves and others with what we think rather than what God says. A brother or sister faces a crisis, or we face one ourselves, and the first words out of our mouth is “Well, I think…” rather than “The Bible says…” More dangerous than that is when we subject our understanding of God’s Word to our opinion rather than subjecting our thoughts to God’s truth. Peter warned us of that danger when he said:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Peter 1:20)
The classic example of someone who put his own spin on what God said is Satan himself: “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1a) This is how he deceived Eve and enticed Adam to sin. It is also how he tried to tempt the Lord. In each attempt to get Jesus to sin, Satan quoted Scripture and misapplied it to the circumstance.
We do the same thing to ourselves when we come to God’s Word and ask ourselves “What does this passage mean to me?” or “How does this passage make me feel?” Wrong questions. Those kinds of questions lead to “private interpretations.” When you and I come to God’s Word, our questions should be “What does this passage tell me about God?” and “What is my responsibility to God, given His truth?”
When you and I stand before God to give an account of ourselves, He is not going to ask us our opinion of Him. He’s not going to ask whether we “liked” His Son on Facebook. He’s also not going to want to hear about our truth. That’s just another form of living life by our opinion. God is going to want to know: “Have you trusted My Son as Savior and have you obeyed My truth?”
As a culture we have come to rely on social media for the affirmation of our self-worth and as our guiding truth. We won’t find either of those things there. Those things can only be found in Scripture. Only Scripture can give us an objective measure of ourselves and an objective understanding of Who God is. That’s where God meets with us and when we come to Him there, we need to let His truth speak to us and leave our opinions at the door.