Clay Finklea

Clay Finklea

Lead This Gen Pastor

One man's opinions on opinions

I have a lot of things that I will argue against. Some divisive, some not. Here are five.

  1. Don’t Stop Believin’ stinks.

  2. Superman is as boring as white milk.

  3. Speaking of milk – Strawberry milk is terrible.

  4. Surfs up is in my top 5 movies of all time.

  5. Turkey is the worst lunch meat.

    My guess is that when you read those you had an opinion on each of them. Why?

Because we are opinionated people. It’s been that way for all of history, but we see the manifestation of that more than ever in 2022. Look at your social media – 50% is probably an opinion or commentary on something. First Take on ESPN is one of the highest rated programs and it’s just people yelling at each other for an hour. People love to consume reality-tv because of how spicy it gets. We are consumed by opinions and judgements. There is something to it that draws us in, gets us addicted, and then causes us to want to do the same in every area of our lives.

What I found is unfortunately that can easily extend to how we view people. We are so used to making a quick reactionary judgment on a video, an athlete, a situation that when we look at people we do the same. Now more than ever – we are able to see what people are doing, have done, and are planning on doing through social media. We have a glimpse into their lives and situations and just like that athlete, we are quick to judge.

We feel like we know their story.

But what if their story changes? What if by the grace of Jesus they come into contact with Him and radically change their life? What if they have someone tell them who Jesus is and they respond? Their story changes doesn’t it?

Unfortunately for them – many of us don’t pay attention to the present, we pay attention to the past. We reference back to their mistakes, their bad decisions, their past life, never fully allowing our judgment to extend to the current moment.

To say it bluntly: That’s wrong and that’s the exact mistake that people made in the Quest reading this week.

John 9:8-12, “8 His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!”But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!”10 They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?”11 He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” 12 “Where is he now?” they asked.”

See the doubt? They don’t believe that it’s the same person. Then on top of that – the Pharisees are questioning him like crazy.

John 9:17, “Then the Pharisees again questioned the man who had been blind and demanded, “What’s your opinion about this man who healed you?”

John 9:18, “ The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. 19 They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”

John 9:26, “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?”

John 9:34, “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.

It’s sad isn’t it? This should be one of the greatest moments of the man who gained his sight. There should be celebration, there should be joy, there should be a community rallying like no other. YET – because of his past (albeit not really one, he was just born blind) they couldn’t accept his present.

So here is my challenge to all of us: When someone’s life changes, don’t question. Celebrate. That’s what they need during that moment. But how do we do that? I think on paper we would all agree that’s what we should do, our eyes judge though without that being our intention.

3 quick things.

1. Look Upward.
We cannot understand how people can have radical life change if we don’t understand

who can radically change them. By looking upward, we are recognizing that God is greater and more powerful than we could ever imagine. It’s about him and what he can do, not what other people have done. The other aspect of this is that when you look upward you start to recognize the design for all of us to bring glory to God. As we have that recognition, it should be our desire to have as many other people to do the same.

2. Look Inward.
Once you look upward, you can shift your gaze inward. You recognize the goodness of

God and the weakness of yourself. If you want to make snap judgments at people, really take a long look at yourself. Do you have no weaknesses? Do you not make any mistakes? What did God save you from? When you start answering these questions you quickly realize that you are just like the people you are judging.

3. Look Forward.

As you begin to look upward and inward, you will find your heart softening. If we want to celebrate and not judge, the next thing is paramount. We have to look forward into the future and see what will occur because of this. Think about the blind man. What a great testimony that he now has to share with the world! I mean it is just amazing!!! The people you are judging – who can their story affect? How will it change their family forever? How does it communicate who God is? Once you think about that by looking forward, you can’t help but be excited about what their change is!

These are three simple steps that will help all of us to not judge people. That’s an extremely difficult thing to stop doing, but it is necessary. We have to work on this because we are all in this together. A huge step is the realization that we are doing it without even realizing it. Let’s celebrate people’s life change, not question it.Do that by looking upward, inward, and forward.