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Ah! The Confusing Smell of Opinion Soup
by Leah Nichols
7/05/2010 / Dating
Soup is delicious....sometimes.
For a night shift nurse at our hospital, there are definitely some perks that come with the job.
For instance, because the cafeteria is closed during our entire shift (even if we work 12 hours), they leave all the leftover soup out for us after midnight, so we can have a bowl - free of charge.
I know you're wondering what's so great about leftover soup, but since they make it from scratch, some of that soup has some pretty awesome flavor. Often packed full of vegetables and spices, it not only warms you up, but gives you a boost to make it through h the next few hours of patient care.
Sometimes, though, the cook just runs out of soup. They pretty much just throw a bunch of leftovers in a pot with some broth. A bowl of that kind of soup might have normal ingredients that just don't match well together. We may try to choke it down, but more often we just throw it out.
However, that is not the kind of soup I want to talk about.
Much like the leftover soup from my hospital's cafeteria, the different things that we hear from others may have a great combination of colors and flavors, may make us feel good on the inside and may even give us an energy boost to get us through the different moments of our lives. The combination of opinions from many different people gives us a well-rounded view of the world and what constitutes proper ways of approaching different issues.
Sometimes, however, those same ingredients, placed into a more specific situation, like situations in which we need to make a good decision, only brings confusion. The combination of others' seemingly normal advice suddenly conflicts, resulting in an "opinion soup" that just does not have a palatable taste anymore. In fact, because the conflicting advice only leads to further confusion about the issue, the best course of action usually involves throwing the whole thing out and just making a decision, no matter who agrees or objects.
Above all the opinions of others should stand God's opinion. Seeking God's opinion requires something other than simply asking everyone around us, though. It requires us to pull out the Bible and read what God says about that subject. It requires us to pray about the situation daily, asking for God's advice. Sometimes it requires us to step out in faith; other times it requires us to pull back in caution. And most of the time, it's not the same course of action every time!
There are great benefits to listening for God's opinion, and conversely, often great consequences for listening only to people. I certainly do not have to use my own life as an example - the Bible has plenty of evidence to prove this point:
1. Abraham (Genesis 12-21)
God told Abraham to move to Canaan. Abraham moved. But then he moved to Egypt, because there was a famine. Did he ask God if he should move? Nope. He probably got advice from everyone else, since everyone knows that you shouldn't stay where you can't grow food! Well, when he got to Egypt, all sorts of trouble ensued because the Pharaoh wanted Abraham's wife, thinking she was his sister....and then they ended up being kicked out of Egypt, along with Hagar, who becomes a whole separate source of trouble later on....also involving some really bad advice from people and not God....
2. Children of Israel (Exodus-Deuteronomy)
You could write a book on the troubles that befell the Israelites in the wilderness because they listened to people instead of God. Well, Moses did. Write a book, I mean - he wrote four! They got sick from overeating, they worshiped a golden calf and really ticked God off, they ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the ground opened up and swallowed a bunch of rebellious people who spoke against Moses, deadly snakes bit them....you get the picture. And it wasn't like it was that hard for them to hear God's opinion - they simply had to ask Moses to pray!
3. Samson (Judges 13-16)
Okay, if there's anyone that messed up more frequently than this guy in the entire Bible, and was still used by God, let me know because Samson's life was a mess! He married the wrong woman (who was eventually murdered by his enemies), and then he fell in love with another woman who gave away his secret to his enemies, resulting in his capture and enslavement. After they gouged his eyes out, his only recourse for justice was sacrificing his own life to kill them. Just think about how different his story might have turned out if he had only listened to God!
Seeking God's opinion may require us to work a bit more diligently to find the answer. Certainly we should not disregard the counsel of those older and wiser than us - Proverbs tells us that having a multitude of counselors keeps us from danger (Proverbs 11:14, 24:6). But if you are like me, there are many influences in our lives, both godly and ungodly. We need to learn to discern God's advice in the middle of all the other words around us.
What's that? Smells interesting....but no thanks....I'll skip on the opinion soup!
Leah writes in her spare time....whenever it's available. She and her husband Ryan live in the greater Los Angeles area, where she works as a labor/delivery nurse, writing and playing the violin on the side. She also enjoys cooking, baking, walking, and reading blogs on the internet.
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