Growing up as a young girl, I always felt pressure to act a certain way, look a certain way and aspire to an already set standard of goals. With every passing year, this has been one thing that college has taught me the most that I wish I would have learned growing up and especially in high school. And that is simply to ignore the opinions of others and to live for myself and for God.
At one point in my life, I was a prisoner to what people say about me and what people think about me. The world may see how you look, what you wear and what your Instagram looks like, but God sees you for what you truly are.
I’ve talked about Paul in my previous blogs and once again he teaches a great lesson on the way he lived his life. In Acts, chapter 13 and 14 Paul tells us a story of his moments preaching the gospel. People “heaped insults at him,” stoned him, and would leave him left to die. All for not liking his teachings. But Paul didn’t care if people liked him, and he knew so much more was at stake than a popularity contest.
I thought about times in my life when I cared about other peoples opinions of me. And I’ve put together a few indicators or signs of what that may look like for all of us. And if you relate to any of these, then this blog is for you.
Signs that you care too much about what other people think of you:
- You go along with what others want and resent it later
- You change what you believe, you change what you express just because other people are in the room
- You avoid social settings or never want to miss out
- You have a hard time asking people for help
- You have a hard time saying no
- You are critical and judgmental of others
- You exaggerate the truth in order to impress
We all struggle with this, at least in one season or another. Most of us feel pressure to make other people happy or even to make other people envy us. The point is, you are chasing approval from peers you will never find. We’ve all heard the saying “you can’t make everyone happy,” but we still try to be as close to that line as possible. Jesus gives us a new identity and a fresh start, that has no implications of what the outside world thinks of you. It does not matter what other people say about us because of what God has already done for us.
The more you consume the things of this earth, the more you will feel empty on the outside.
In Galatians 1:1-10 we see how other peoples opinions’ weigh on Paul. Paul understood it was not God’s mission for him to be well-liked. He understood that by preaching the gospel and doing what was right, not everyone would like it. He understood that he cannot control the thoughts and words of others. He understood that what he was going to be held accountable for was not going to be if everyone thought well of him or spoke well of him. But rather if he did the things God asked of him. The things God called him to do, those very things God placed on his heart. Paul, just like us, answered to a higher authority.
In Luke chapter 6, God warns us, “beware when everyone speaks well of you,” to beware when everyone likes you. Sometimes as Christians we misinterpret our jobs on earth to have everyone like us and speak well of us. Like the bible says, we do in fact want to live at peace with everyone and show kindness and love. We all want a good reputation for others to look at and follow. But if you’re living such a safe and statuesque life, you’re not really a factor. No one is uncomfortable. And God doesn’t grow in our comfort zone. As Christians, we’re supposed to push the boundaries of worldly statuesque. The world tells us that sex is an important part of a relationship at any age and stage, but the bible tells us it is for the married ones to strengthen their relationship. The world has told us and still tells us that people’s skin colors can determine their value. But the bible tells us that all people are created equally in God’s image. Just because the world approves it, does not mean God approves it.
It’s okay if people don’t like you. Every day we should strive to love like Jesus, teach like Jesus, and be like Jesus. And if you are successful in that, people won’t like you. People didn’t like Jesus. He was stoned for his teachings, ridiculed in towns, people tried to throw him off a cliff and ultimately, he was murdered. In Luke chapter 6, God tells Jesus, “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil…” That may be dramatic for our own purposes but if you’re fully living like Jesus, not everyone will like you. And that’s okay.
Now I’m not saying to go and make everyone hate you. It is still important to leave an impression of love and kindness on other people (1 Peter 2:12). But man’s eyes should never be the approval you strive for. Our goal is to live before an audience of one.
What God knows about you, is more important than what other people think of you.
The best way to know when you are doing something right is when the devil and the world try to stop you.
Verses about other people opinions of you: