What Others Think

He wastes no time jumping to my defence. She has crossed a line and he will set her straight. He stares at me, expressionless, as he sends verbal daggers her way. For the first time, I am not flattered or offended.  For the first time I understand that, like most things in life, it’s not about me. His jumping to my defence is not the courtesy or kind gesture I once perceived - he wasn’t defending me, but using the opportunity to pick a fight with her.  It wasn’t about me at all.

Praise the Lord, I think I’m finally learning that what others think really doesn’t matter. Whether someone offers me criticism or praise, judgment or flattery, it changes nothing. I still must answer to God, and still must choose my behavior and beliefs about it. I can not let the opinions of others become an excuse for me to become prideful, judgmental, critical or fearful. I answer to God.  It’s helpful to remember that people’s opinions change at the drop of a hat anyway.

One day the Israelites would follow Moses,
the next they would complain about him.

The people who sang praises as Jesus entered the gates
were the same people who shouted ‘Crucify him!’ days later.

One day I adore my children and think they’re unbearably cute
and the next day I think they’re just unbearable.

People are fickle! We are erratic. We are indecisive. Who can possibly count on our opinions?!? Whether they are words of praise or condemnation, the words of people can not of themselves be trusted.

So what now? Do I disregard everything said to me? No, I’m definitely not saying that! I’m saying that we can not depend on others alone to guide us. We may receive wise counsel, criticism and encouragement that each help us grow in Christ. I think the problem comes when we make them our god – when we seek the counsel, criticism and encouragement of others instead of seeking God.

I think when the opinions of others become too important to us, we are at high risk of being misled, deceived and distracted from God. If we know who we are in Christ – that we are walking in his will, and believe he is working in us every day – then it’s easier to depend on him instead of people. 

Please know that I don’t have this figured out. I’m just tasting the beginning of this truth, and pray that I’ll grow so steadfast in faith and knowledge of the Lord that I will not be shaken – that while I’m here, I will walk in bold obedience whatever the cost.  It’s a dangerous prayer, and one I say fearfully, but God is good and he can be trusted.

Helpful Verses:

“Fear of men will prove to be a snare but
whoever trusts in the Lord will be kept safe”
Proverbs 25:26

The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord  than to trust in princes.
Psalm 118:6-9


******Shelly****** said...

Yes and Amen! Great post...thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your heart!


V said...

I also agree, don't make others your god... they're not God and can't do what God can.
I also find that you must also learn to listen to YOUR own voice... if someone says you're fat, but you don't think so... WHY BOTHER TO LISTEN TO THEM!!
humans - easily manipulated!
I wish I could mail this to a friend... she relies TOO heavily on what others think, and in turn has LOST her own voice and now doesn't even know who she is or have an esteem. AI it's so sad!!
Thanks Kim!

Family, Money and Stuff said...

Thanks, ladies. Your comments are such a blessing :)

And V - feel free to email it to your friend!

Faith Imagined said...

What an amazing post! This subject is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I have a habit of putting the opinions of leaders on a pedestal. Because of this, I get easily hurt when they express a negative comment about me. I need to realize God has the final say in everything! I just need to be listening to Him! Great post!