The Right to Your Own Opinion
“Everyone has the right to his own opinion.” We hear this line used from time to time, and in certain contexts I don’t disagree. But is it always true? Has anyone ever verbally maligned you, lying about you or about your friends or family? What was your response? Were you angry, hurt, or disgusted because “no-one has the right to talk about me or my family that way”? Or were you complacent, acknowledging “every one has the right to his own opinion”? Each of these quoted statements has a valid basis. It depends on what “right” we are talking about.
Here in the USA there is something called “The Bill of Rights.” One of these rights is freedom of speech. People in our nation have the legal right to speak their minds whether they are correct or not. They do not necessarily, however, have a moral right to have what is in their minds to begin with. No one has a God-given moral right to mistreat other people. How much less so regarding the treatment of and statements about our wonderful heavenly Father?
When we see our friends maligned, we tend to take exception to their treatment. We stand up for them and fight back. We recognize the evil for what it is and say so. Too many Christians, however, do not give our heavenly Father the same kind of consideration, respect, and love they would give to their friends or even perhaps to their family dog. When they hear our Father maligned, they just sigh and say, “Well, everyone has the right to his own opinion.” I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 11:
Verse 3: But I am concerned that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted and turned away from the straightforward simplicity of teaching about Christ.
Verse 4: Because if someone comes along preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive originally, or if you receive a different gospel which you did not originally accept, you put up with these things too easily. [LATU]
Like the first century believers in Corinth, many Christians today “put up with these things too easily.” They are complacent about others viciously maligning our wonderful Father. Some even celebrate the supposed right to do so. There is a legal right in our nation to express anything one wants about our God (as long as it is not an openly displayed written positive statement in a government funded facility), but there is no God-given moral right to having your own opinion about God and the things of God. God commands all men to believe on the name of His son, Jesus Christ, not have their own opinions about him.
1 John 3: 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
Those who reject Jesus Christ are liars and they are calling God a liar.
1 John 2: 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1 John 5: 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
We must not confuse what one has the ability to do with what one has a right to do. In our nation, there is no legal right to commit murder even though people have the ability to do so. Likewise, there is no God-given moral right to reject the one true God just because people have the ability to do so. I don’t celebrate diversity when it comes to the things of God. I celebrate when people accept the Truth. We have an obligation to believe Him. All other options are not called “rights” in God’s Word; they are called “sin”.
John 16: 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Actually, there should be no “opinions” at all about the Scriptures whether those opinions are correct or not. Opinions are conclusions thought out but open to dispute (as per Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary). We are not to have “conclusions thought out but open to dispute” regarding the Scriptures. We are to know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1 Corinthians 2: 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Believers or anyone else can have an opinion about who might win the next World Series or whatever, but not about the things of God. When it comes to God’s Word, we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God. That leaves no room for opinions and certainly not the opinions of those who reject Him.
God has shown and extended his love to all mankind in giving His son as a sacrifice for us all (But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8). God loves, but He has never compromised on what he expects people to believe. He has never offered an excuse for unbelief, and certainly not an excuse as lame as, “Well, they have the right to their own opinion.” We should follow God’s example rather than the example of those who are more concerned about offending people than they are about offending God.