“And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.”
One of the biggest phrases in the Book of Job that captures the picture of the whole book is found in the verse above. Elihu said that he was afraid to show his opinion. He says in verse 10, “I also will shew mine opinion.” This whole book is filled with the opinions of people who didn’t know the whole story of what was going on in Job’s life. These men, though well-intentioned, just about destroyed their relationship with Job because of how their opinions unjustly criticized a man who was being attacked by Satan. Had these men kept their opinions to themselves, most of what they said would not have been hurled at Job; rather, they would have tried to help a man in the lowest time of his life.
Many relationships are contentious because of people who decide to give their opinion on a matter that is not worthy of it. Everybody has an opinion, but that doesn’t mean that everybody should give it. In fact, the more that people keep their opinions to themselves, the more they will have time to help people by doing the LORD’s work. Let me share several observations about controlling your opinions.
First, opinions are the thoughts of a person who doesn’t see the whole picture. These men thought they knew Job’s problems, but they didn’t because they didn’t see the whole picture. When you give your opinion, you are looking at one situation and not the whole picture of what is going on in that situation. Just because you think you know what is going on doesn’t mean you know what is going on.
Second, opinions are the thoughts of an individual who inserts themselves into a situation in which they have no business. The fact that you are giving your opinion shows that you are giving your thoughts about a situation that is not in your area. When something is not in your area, you cannot know the whole story behind the incident. It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned you may be; you are going to cause people to loathe being around you because of your opinions you always have to give.
Third, opinions are the ramblings of a person who thinks they are smarter than others. One of the main reasons people think they must give their opinion is because they believe they know more than everyone else who has commented on the situation. The arrogance of people who believe they can make a judgment on a situation because of the little information they have about it doesn’t make that opinion right. Opinions are a result of pride-filled people who think they MUST help the inferior people around them. My friend, your pride is showing when you think you always have the answer to everyone’s situation.
Fourth, opinions often hurt the relationships of those you love the most. You are going to destroy your relationships if you always must give an opinion about what someone is doing. The best way to keep contention out of relationships is to stop giving your opinion. By the way, just because someone asks for your opinion doesn’t mean you have to give it. There are times when silence is the greatest advice given. Life is short, and if you go around giving your opinion to everyone about what they are doing, you are going to find yourself to be a lonely person when you get old. Let me encourage you to keep your opinions to yourself; in doing so, you will save yourself from contentious relationships.