How to Care/Not Care What People Think
The accusation pounced without any warning. It was like a glass of cold water being thrown in your face. “That’s not a very Christian attitude.” I wanted to shout back, "I could say the same thing to you, bub."
Have you ever heard someone say that, to you or to someone else? Whether or not the person saying this is a Christian or not is irrelevant. Or is it?
It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, as Christians we’re being watched. Not only watched, but the standard that we’re expected to keep with is very high. It is a bit maddening because we, of all people, know we’re not perfect and are being sanctified (being made holy) day by day. Nevertheless, we represent our Heavenly Father, the King. There’s probably a fine line between not being consumed with what other people think and yes, definitely caring what people think. Allow me to make an attempt at explaining what I’m trying to say here.
I believe the answer to Caring/Not Caring What People Think is easier than what we imagine. It’s not about two different things here. Caring and not caring. I believe these can be one thing. Wait, what? You ask. I believe you can do both at the same time. In fact, I believe it’s important. Sort of like the “perfect” snack recipe. It’s got just the right amount of sweetness and the right amount of saltiness to compliment one another.
How to Care/Not Care What People Think
Recognize there are no perfect people.
No, not even you. Commit to extending grace to yourself and to those watching you. Yes, we're going to mess up. We are human after all. Don't view this as a free pass. Instead realize that people see us mess up and own up to it. And then move on.
There is no one righteous, not even one. Romans 3:10
Consider these verses.
With that said, let’s continue.
Recognize that although we are not perfect people we are made righteous by the blood of Christ.
Although, we aren't righteous on our own, we have the Righteous One living in us (2 Timothy 1:14, Ephesians 3:17). Remember this and even though He does live in us we must commit to making the right choices in how we live out our lives in front of people. Just because He lives in us doesn't mean from now on everything we do is automatically perfect, we still have to choose that path.
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. Philippians 3:9
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Recognize that what goes in must come out.
Here’s a verse I believe explains this.
The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45
What are you putting into your heart every day? These are the things that are going to overflow from it. Our pastor asked a couple questions Sunday. 1. “Do you take the Word of God seriously?” 2. “Will you allow Jesus to consume your life?”
Recognize that as a Christian you are being sanctified (being made holy) daily.
Another quote from the sermon Sunday. “When you encounter Jesus you don’t leave the same way...you take a different route.” Remember the Magi? They followed the star to where Jesus was. After they encountered Jesus, they left taking a different route. In fact, anytime someone encountered Jesus they didn't leave the same way they had come. We’re being changed every day. Every day as we are made holy our route changes. We are changed, my friend. The more we encounter Jesus, the more we’re changed and made more holy. Don't get hung up on your past or let others hold those things over you either.
I thank my God…and am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Recognize that this whole thing of caring/not caring what people think doesn’t have to look like a demolition derby.
The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them. Luke 12:12
I had a conversation recently with my daughter who is currently immersed in "a training program designed to mobilize leaders to plant missional communities that establish the Kingdom of God around the world." We were discussing the need to build relationship with those we’re sharing Christ with. The need to just speak plainly with them instead of using all those words that don’t make any sense to them. Words like salvation. Sanctified. Baptize. I could go on. We take for granted that we know what these things mean, but the average person just doesn’t.
We don’t have to crash into people with our “christian-ese” it’s too much like a demolition derby to them. They’re pinned up against the sideline unable to move because we just keep backing up and putting the pedal to the medal trying to get them to interact with us. When all the while they’re saying “that’s not a very Christian attitude.”
She also shared a sort new word with me that God has been showing her. More like two words into one. Just like we're talking about here today. As I roll it around in my heart and head I may elaborate on it more in the future. Her word was both-and. We'll save this for later.
Recognize you can do nothing without Christ.
Building relationships with others. Sharing Christ with others is impossible without Him.
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
To answer the question, "should I care or should I not care what people think?" The simple answer and summing up the previous 900+ words is - yes, bothand.