Most of my life I have been concerned with what people think about me. I have worked hard to appear in clothes that wasn't too uncool, and try not to say uncool things, or have opinions that went against general consensus. Today that has changed in many ways. I still care how I may appear. After spending some time in recovery from alcoholism however, I discovered that its not important what you think of me, but what I think of you. I know that my opinion of you determines my growth as a follower of Christ working to stay clean and sober. I try to look at everyone through these new glasses, look for the good in everyone, and worry less of how they see me. Concern of how we appear to others, how well our family appears to do in life, can be deceitful and deadly if a family member has an addiction, and we are afraid to seek help for them, fearing of what others may think. Fear of opinion can take people into massive debt, for the sake of appearing well off. Coming to grips with who we are, accepting our standing in life, trusting that God can and will improve our position among men, indicate our freedom from people's approval.
"The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe." Prov. 29:25 (NIV)
Politicians are often caught by words they say. One politician was running for office and trying to impress the evangelicals as to his Bible knowledge. When asked his favorite book in the Bible he said, "the book of Noah." It was funny at the time, but it is fear of not getting the vote that the politician lied rather than just being truthful, and admitting he didn't know much about the Bible. This is the case for many of us. Fearing man's opinion causes dishonesty in everyone at one point. Think about the times you may have been dishonest, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings. It happens often.
How do we really free ourselves from the fear of man? Of all worldly fears, I consider the fear of how we "look" to be, the worst of all fears. First of all, pray. Ask God to help you focus on areas to serve. When you get outside of yourself, you pay little attention to what others think. If your busy helping others, you'll find how little you matter. Second, get rid of the uniqueness you think you own. You are not unique, God didn't destroy the mold after He designed you. He didn't think I can't improve on this one! You are no different than anyone. You will face the same problems, probably experience the same victories, etc. You can be a alcoholic or a drug addict, in spite of your personal goodness. You can be killed in an accident, so wear your seat belt. You can fall down, so watch your step! People really feel that (anything bad) couldn't happen to them. (sorry didn't mean to get off topic) The third thing to do is read the Word. It is the medicine that builds faith and destroys fears. Don't let fear of public opinion run your life. Build faith in who you are in Christ! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all,Keith.