Fact or Opinion

An election season often reveals the various opinions represented within our society. Within any given workplace, school campus, and even the local church you can also find differences of opinion among those in attendance.

Some opinions are factual or true regardless of a person’s perspective. For example, a glass that is half full is also half empty. But with other opinions it can be challenging to determine fact. For instance, we’ve all watched infomercials that provide individual claims to the quality of a product, only to later find that the product did not live up to the projected expectations. So, what determines whether or not an opinion is factual? An opinion is found to be true when it reflects an absolute standard.

Consider this. A real estate agent provides the following advertisement for a new house: Large home with spacious rooms and gorgeous décor; perfect for any family. However, those looking to purchase the home have differing opinions, “This house is much smaller than our current home,” “The family room will not hold all our furniture,” “The decorating does not reflect my personal taste.” Because all these statements are absent of the context of any standard, they cannot be proven to be true or false.

However, what if the real estate agent had advertised the home as “being well constructed”? A well constructed house isn’t based merely on appearances, but rather the quality of lumber used and whether or not the local building code requirements were met. Is the house square, level, and plumb? Now, the opinions offered can be subject to an absolute standard.

Using an absolute standard can be very beneficial in parenting, but you will find that most parenting helps offered are based on opinion and not fact. Without an absolute standard how can you determine which parenting strategies to follow when striving to teach acceptable child behaviors?

In the Old Testament, God’s people were living by public opinion. Although they were living by consensus, their lifestyle opposed God’s standard of truth resulting in sin. Remember, absent of a standard, opinions can appear and feel accurate.

Amos 7:8-9 records: And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”

A plumb line is a tool that proves whether or not a structure is perfectly vertical or upright. God had been long-suffering with His people, Israel, but He was now using His Word as a plumb line to reveal how their lifestyles measured up to His standard of truth.

Parents, it matters not what someone calls truth or their opinion of it, but what truth is according to God’s Word. Using God’s absolute truth will enable you to parent by His principles rather than invest in worldly perceptions and opinions.