I worry far too much about what other people think. I didn’t really realize this until today. I have spent the past several days very discouraged constantly thinking I’m making people mad at me, saying the wrong thing and being unreasonable. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal or conversations that the other person has probably already forgotten have come back to mind over and over. “What did they think when I said this” “I wonder if it made them mad when I said that” “Does this person approve of what I’m doing?” It gets pretty exhausting trying to worry about what everyone thinks. I’m very conservative, but there are people in my acquaintance who hold more conservative views than I do. I also know and love many people who are quite liberal. This poses a problem when trying to worry about what everyone will think when they see my life.
I decided to find my answers in the only place they can really be found: the Scriptures. I didn’t really know where I should read, but flipped to Galatians and began reading. My answer came at the end of the first chapter:
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
What would my life look like if after every conversation, I looked back and asked myself if Christ was honored in the words I spoke? What if before making any decision, I thought not of what others would say I should do or what others will think about whatever decision I make, but which choice would be the most favorable in the eyes of God? I think I would be far less stressed. I’m sometimes frustrated when people say “Who cares what anyone thinks?” because it shows a general disregard for the opinions of others. But as I think about it, most people don’t follow that statement with “I’m going to follow Christ, no matter the cost.” They follow it with “I’m going to do whatever I want to.” Therein lies the difference. Not caring if people are mad or disappointed because you are doing what you believe is right, rather or not if it is what you want to do.
Of course, I believe that it is the responsibility of brothers and sisters in Christ to bring it to someone when they see something in the other person’s life that they don’t believe is in line with scripture. But if the response to that is changing your ways just because you don’t want the person to be upset with you, it’s the wrong kind of change. It should be considered seriously through prayer, searching the Scripture and possibly seeking other counsel. But at the end of the day, rather or not you agree with that person, you have to determine rather or not change is necessary to honor God or if your change would just be eye service to please man.
This really isn’t a sermon! And it’s not a response to anyone telling me I needed to change anything, because though I’m sure plenty of people have plenty of legitimate things they could confront me with, they haven’t. Just something I have been thinking about for myself.
So today, when I get off the phone, when I leave a conversation, when I look at what I’m wearing and when I interact with Cole or Sam or anyone else, I want to ask myself if God was honored in it. If He was, I want to give Him glory. If He wasn’t, I want to recognize it, turn from it, and do better at my next opportunity.