Most of us are sometimes captivated by this thought, What do people think about me?
What do my friends think about me? What does my husband (or wife) think about me? What does my manager think about me? What do my neighbors think about me?
When you upload a photo in Facebook, or do something good for others, you may be curious to know people’s opinion about you or their feedback. In one way it is good. It will make you feel good, when you hear their nice words about you. And also it will help you to get better at what you are doing.
Is it wrong to be captivated by this thought, “What people think about me?”?
If you say, “Let people say anything about me, I don’t care” – that’s a wrong attitude. It will make you feel proud and arrogant. This will reflect in your behavior.
If you say, “Oh I should always please the people around me, so that I will get a good reputation”, that too is dangerous. You will end up being a people-pleaser.
These are two extremes. We should learn to strike a balance.
What is the right attitude? Let’s have a closer look at Jesus’ attitude.
The attitude of Jesus
Jesus also once asked a similar question to His fellow disciples,
Whom do men say that I (the Son of man) am? Matt 16: 13
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
(When people saw the mighty works of Jesus, they thought that this man was a re-incarnation of some old testament prophets like Elijah or Jeremiah, etc.)
Then Jesus asked his disciples
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus appreciated Peter for saying the right answer. Jesus did not ask this question, to feel good about Himself, but to make sure they got His identity right.
Now, let’s take another instance.
When Jesus did his first miracle (turning water into wine at a wedding feast), followed by a series of miracles, signs and wonders, many people believed in Him, but what was the response of Jesus. Did He fall for their praises?
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
That’s the key – Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men (or He knew what was in man). In other words, He clearly knew the human nature
The very people who had said nice words about you may put you down tomorrow. Therefore, you may politely acknowledge their compliments, but never commit to their praises.
Reinhard Bonnke (a famous German preacher) once said,
If you become excited when people praise you, remember you will soon be upset if they criticize you
What does God think about me?
You should be more concerned about this question: “What does God think about me?”
That is all what matters, because when God says a good thing about you, He really means it, and you can trust Him.
Many times, Jesus complimented people. He really meant those words.
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. Matt 15: 18
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. Matt 16: 17
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Matt 8: 10
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Matt 25: 23
See, Jesus loves to give compliments.
Whenever you do something pleasing to Jesus, can you imagine Jesus looking at your face and saying, “Well done my son (daughter). You have done an excellent job!”
Do we long to hear such words from God?
While Jesus was on this earth in the form of a man, we find that Jesus was more concerned about what His heavenly Father thought about Him. He was always focused on doing things that pleased His heavenly Father
The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him. John 8: 29
At one point of time, many people even decided to stop following Jesus because they were not willing to follow the high standards of the teachings of Jesus. Jesus then asked his twelve disciples if they were going to leave him (John 6: 67)
In other words, Jesus was confident enough that He will never become lonely, because He knew very well that God who sent Him was with Him always. He was confident that He was already pleasing His Father in Heaven. Hence none of these things moved Him nor made Him upset.
Yes, this is something which we need to learn from Jesus. Let this be our confidence too. If we look at people or try to please them, we can never be at peace, because it is impossible to please everyone around you.
No matter who stays with us, or who deserts us, God will never leave us nor forsake us as long as we follow His footsteps. This should be our confidence
Are you disappointed? Have people left you in the past? Are you worried about their opinion about you? Don’t worry! Here is a promise for you
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deu 31: 6
Therefore, let us be captivated by this thought, “What does my Father in Heaven think about me?” When this becomes our primary concern, everything else will fall in place. Then we will know how to strike that balance.
May God help all of us to become God-pleasers rather than men-pleasers. It will help us to reach our destiny.