Perspectives and Opinions

What is the difference between perspectives and opinions?

  • Perspective can be defined as a way of looking at or thinking about something.
  • Opinion can be defined as an idea that is believed to be true or valid without positive knowledge.

Although the two words are certainly related, what is the difference that you see from the definitions above?

Perspective is the way you look at or think about something. Opinion is an idea you believe to be true even if you have no positive knowledge to support the idea or belief.

For example , what is your immediate reaction to the picture used for this post?

  • Did you first think, “Oh that looks pretty” or “Ooh, yuck, dandelions”?
  • What is the perspective of the first opinion? The second?
  • Is your opinion of dandelions that they are beautiful flowers or pesky weeds?
  • What did you use to establish those opinions?
  • How does the different perspectives inform the expressed belief of the two opinions?
  • Can both expressions be valid? How?
  • Are either expressions taking into consideration that the entire dandelion plant is actually edible?
  • Can you see how interrelated perspective and opinion are?
  • Can you also see that opinions may not always be based on all the facts?

What current event do you need to step back and analyze your perspective to be able to express an informed opinion?

Joel 1:15 provides a great example of the importance of perspective informing one’s opinion.

The book of Joel opens with a declaration that the message to follow comes from the LORD, through the prophet Joel. Verses 2-14 then describe a horrible locust plague while calling the entire community to assemble to fast and cry out to the LORD regarding their precarious situation.

But Joel 1:15 intentionally shocks its audience with an unexpected perspective.

ESV  Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

Do you see what is so shocking in this verse?

Another translation of this verse is helpful here:

NET  Joel 1:15 How awful that day will be! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come as destruction from the Divine Destroyer.

Think carefully here.

The LORD, through Joel, is telling His people that their current circumstances are a forecast of a future day yet to come. A day known as “the day of the LORD”.

How is this “day of the LORD” described?

  • Awful.
  • Near.
  • A time of destruction.

Who brings the destruction?

  • The Almighty (ESV)
  • The Divine Destroyer (NET)

Joel 1:2-3 asked the community to compare their current situation with the past to point out that what they were experiencing had a greater significance than previous generations had seen.

Previous generations had seen the LORD bring judgment through a variety of plagues, including locusts, against other nations in response to those nations having mistreated His people Judah/Israel. But now this plague of destructive locusts has attacked Judah/Israel.

The LORD is saying He, Himself, has brought destruction to His own chosen people!

Can you sense the fear and trembling that the initial audience for Joel would have experienced at these words?

Why would the LORD attack His own chosen people? What does this imply?

The implication here is that the community of Judah/Israel had been neglecting their relationship with the LORD.

The LORD’s people were called to live their lives a certain way.

ESV  Genesis 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,

How can the verse above and  Joel 1:1-15 refresh our perspective toward an informed opinion about the events of our generation?

  • Are you walking with God today?
  • Are you blameless?
  • What does it look like to walk with God and be blameless?
  • Do you seek the LORD in every situation?

Our personal experiences with relationships are a key component in forming our perspectives and opinions throughout our lives.

Whose opinion do you reflect on the most throughout your day?

  •  Facebook?
  • Twitter?
  • Local News Media?
  • Family?  
  • Friends?
  • Coworkers?
  • The Bible?
  • Other?

I am learning through this study of Joel that the LORD wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to depend on Him first and foremost. He wants us to cry out to Him when we are hurting.

I am also learning that He expects us to live according to His standards. His standards include being blameless because the day of the LORD is coming.

ESV  2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

The LORD’s word has shocked us awake to realize that our perspectives color our opinions which ultimately leads to how we behave in our relationships with Him and each other.

Along with being alarmed by the LORD’s warnings I pray that we may also be encouraged.

He would not have provided His warnings if He did not care for us.

May each of us consider the possibility that our perspective may need to be challenged so that we may express informed opinions and behavior.


Barbara Lynn

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