Home > Commentary, Life Thoughts > Making a Molehill out of a Mountain

Making a Molehill out of a Mountain

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Ever heard the expression, “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill?”

It is usually used by one person towards another whom they have deemed has made a significant issue out of something that appears to be insignificant.  If that is true, is it possible that we could do the converse – make a molehill out of a mountain?  Are there things that are significant and weighty like a mountain that we diminish because in our minds we have perceived that they are as insignificant as the hill that a mole would create?

I believe it happens.  All the time.

I was listening to a podcast from Ravi Zachariah where he stated the following:

Opinions are negotiable, convictions are not.

To better understand that statement, though it is quite elegant in its succinctness, think of it this way – the things that we are willing to change our minds about are opinions while the things that we are adamant about to the point that circumstances would not change our mind concerning them, are convictions.

Some of my opinions:

  • The Cincinnati Reds are the greatest baseball team to ever take the field.
  • Black socks should never be worn with white sandals.
  • Burping is a great way to relieve abdominal pressure while being entertaining at the same time.

Compare those to some of my convictions:

  • I will always love my daughters
  • The Gospel portrays the most powerful picture of grace ever known to man
  • Every human life has equal value

It should be pretty clear from the lists that my convictions carry more weight than my opinions.  But what would happen if I were at a Cincinnati Reds game and got into a heated discussion with a Cubs fan about which team was the greatest team and the discussion became so heated that I choke the life out of the person with a stadium hot dog covered in mustard and ketchup?  I would be guilty of making a Mountain out of a Molehill… along with murder.  But I would also be guilty of making a Molehill out of a Mountain.  Taking a life (something of great weight and substance) over an opinion of which guys did a better job of hitting a ball with a stick while wearing fancy pajamas would meet the criteria of raising the importance of a Molehill over that of the Mountain.

While the circumstance that I just described seems extreme and silly, it happens.  We only have to open the paper or watch the news to witness everyday examples of people raising the Molehill over the Mountain.

I think I know why this happens… or at least I have an opinion as to why it may occur.  There is a lack of people understanding the difference between opinion and conviction and a woeful disregard for determining convictions by which to live life by.  Our post-modern philosophies state, ironically, that there are no absolutes – that everything is negotiable.  There are two problems with that thought process: the obvious is that it is making an absolute statement about there not being absolutes but it is also creating a mindset that all beliefs have equal weight because all beliefs are circumstantial.

  • We will state that murder is wrong but allow abortion or set free the person guilty of heat-of-the moment killings done in passion because the ‘other person made them do it”
  • We ‘believe’ that stealing is wrong and yet we will cheat on our taxes, rob our employers of office supplies, or think we got a deal when the cashier gave us back too much money.

I think you can get the picture.  We are a people willing to make statements of convictions as long as those convictions don’t cost us anything.  At the point our ‘convictions’ expect payment, they become negotiable and are relegated to opinions.  We interchange mountains and molehills so regularly that we can no longer recognize the difference.

Do we have any hope of making sense of this?

5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

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  1. May 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    love it!

    in my opinion – the church needs more convictions that opinions… 😉

    in my conviction – the lakers are the best basketball team ever 😉

    • May 6, 2010 at 3:07 am

      Your comment had me cracking up… because we all know that the Cavaliers are the better team 😉

      • May 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm

        oh.my.word. YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT TO ME.

        it’s time to pray and intercede for your soul.

      • May 7, 2010 at 12:33 am

        Hey… some people like the King James Version 🙂

  2. May 6, 2010 at 4:19 am

    very, very good post. an interesting perspective, by the way. but i completely can see and agree. i’ve been known to reverse the phrase from time to time when it seems appropriate.

    AND i love me some ravi zachariah.

    • May 6, 2010 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, Joy. I know that there I times that I am guilty of switching perspectives.. fortunately, I have people around me who tell when I have.

      And Ravi is the man.

  3. May 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I go to that old ditty: “In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; but in all things, love.” we need to distinguish between what is an essential and what is an opinion. ‘course I realize that in this post-modern culture that is all up for grabs. And in my eyes therein lies the problem. We question what the Bible says is fact and question whether its veracity. I will often say about a situation “that is not a hill I am willing to die on.” There are some things-opinions-that are not worth fighting over and making into mountains. Truth, however, is a different story. Distinguishing between the two is the rub. Good post tony.

    • May 6, 2010 at 10:42 am

      Leave off the “whether” in “whether its veracity.” Makes no sense the way it is.

    • May 6, 2010 at 10:42 am

      Bill, all too often people choose to ‘die’ trying to ‘take the hill’ … unfortunately, the hill they have chosen belongs to a mole.

      As I was writing this post, I was going through my mind trying to figure out what things in my own life were opinions versus convictions. It was a tough exercise because I had to really think about how I would categorize things by going through circumstances that would test my resolve on those beliefs.

  1. May 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

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