Not many things Christians say upset me more than this: “I don’t care what others think of me.”
Really? You don’t? You don’t care if others see you as a follower of Christ? You don’t care if others see you as just another claimed Christian who lives religiously but not differently? You don’t care if your actions make others stop and think about what they are doing? You don’t care if you simply keep your relationship with Christ hidden and continue to live in sync with the crowd?
I’m aware that many people who say this are referring to not letting worldly opinions affect their words or actions. Don’t count me out; I get stuck in this boat sometimes, too. We don’t want to have to worry about what our peers think of us. We want to be able to live a happy, joyful life, while blocking out all negativity.
But you know what? Blocking out those who think poorly of us is not solving any problems. Declaring that we are independent and “don’t care what others think of us” is not okay. We need to be constantly monitoring our thoughts, words, and actions. We need to become aware of how our lives are affecting the lives of others. If we have been saying things that are offending someone, it is imperative for us to recognize the pain or confusion we may be causing.
There is a distinct difference between caring how others see you, and letting the opinions of others keep you from living how you know God intended for you to live. There is a difference between welcoming people’s views on how they see you, and allowing those views to paralyze you and send you into silence.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3
So, among believers and nonbelievers alike, we must be aware of how our lives reflect that of Jesus Christ. We need to change if we are disrupting the unity of the Body. We must be gentle with those who don’t believe in the Lord, and we need to care about their opinions. It is totally necessary for us to be open to turn our lives inside out if that is what it takes to live a life worthy of our calling. It’s time we take a stand and seek the thoughts of us that come from non-believers. It’s time we make an effort to understand how they see us so that we can then welcome God to do miraculous works in those areas of our lives that need to change in order to bring glory to Him and obtain new brothers and sisters in Christ.
Whatever you do, do not become numb to the fact that there are always people watching you. There are always people looking at you as a Christ follower, and what they see is how they view the Ruler of the Heavens. Do not fall into the trap of saying you don’t care what others think of you. As children of God, we need to care. And our lives need to reflect that.