When you accidently take a fall, and hopefully do not get hurt, do you look around to see if anyone saw you, do you make sure after eating a certain food that there are no particles stuck in your teeth, just in case you might smile at someone? These and a thousand other things are the little ticks that accompany us through the paths of life, we are concerned with what others think of us, their opinions of us matter.
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Prov. 22:1) How exactly does this verse coincide with those things that we have mentioned here, does a good name have anything to do with what others think of You? An interesting question, for if we are commanded to die to self, (Gal. 2:20) then why would we be overly concerned with what the people that we share this planet with think of us. If our actions reflect that of Christ at all times, then who would they be dishonoring by their comments or thoughts about us, if we are doing all that is within our power to be Christ-like, then it would be Him that would be the target of their words, not us.
For those of you that are perhaps a little overly concerned with what people think of you, please take a moment and go over in your mind the reasons that you are, because if it is Christ that you are trying to honor in your daily walk, then it is not you that you should be concerned with here. There is an enormous difference between what people actually think of you and your actions and what they should see in you if those actions are of Christ. I have often considered this, what do you think that the disciple’s reaction would have been if the Lord Jesus slipped on the ice one day, laughter or quick aid. And what of our Lord, after He made sure that He wasn’t injured, would He have laid there for a moment and laughed at His little adventure, or would He have been embarrassed at what had occurred?
I know that this is of course all conjecture, but it makes a good point, if we are to be Christ like, what should our reaction be when these small incidents occur in our own life, in which direction should our minds go?
Embarrassment seems to be the key word here, our own self-conscience unease at a situation that we had absolutely no control over, and the reaction of those who may have witnessed this action. It is a subject that is at the very core of our nature, and it has held back many a Christian from fulfilling all that the Lord has had in store for them, it is much more than just slipping on the ice. Forget the unseen incident for a moment and think now on how you look to yourself, and you will begin to understand where this letter to you is going. Are you concerned with the color of your hair, or the lack thereof, how tall you are, the size of your shoes, your financial position, the list is never ending, but the point is the same, what is it that you are embarrassed about and why. From the least to the greatest of the human race, as it were, every single one of us suffers thru this anxiety at one time or another, we are concerned with the opinions of others.
I can tell you right where this started, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen. 2:25) and then their action after the fall, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.” (Gen. 3:7) They were both ashamed, they were both embarrassed, they looked around and even though they only saw each other, that was enough. The word ashamed is in the Bible 122 times, and embarrassed is there 121 times, please correct me if I am wrong, but if a word is in the Scriptures that often, shouldn’t we pay some attention to it. The only reason that we give any thought to either of these terms should be in regard to our Lord, not to those that occupy this planet with us, but for some reason we are.
It is all relative to our first parents, for embarrassment and being ashamed are a part of the sinful nature of man, so to override these feelings, these emotions of self, we have a choice, to care less what others think of us, and to be more Christlike, which in itself is a desire for us to care more of what people think of us. When we are representing Christ, which should be every moment of our lives, we are ambassadors sent from the kingdom of heaven, and we must always act accordingly. No one sends a representative from their country to another nation that is not well versed in the manners and customs of not only their own country but of the one that they are being sent to. All possibilities of not offending must be exercised, all possible knowledge of proper procedures need to be adhered to at all times, embarrassment for the one who has sent the representative is always at the top of the mind of the one who has been sent.
The prescribed method within the Christian community today seems to be one of the outward appearance, and not so much the words any more that proceed from the mouths of those who profess Christ, we seem to be more concerned with what the outside world thinks of us than what our Lord thinks of us. The proper wardrobe, haircut, manner of our actions is only considered when they affect us personally, and this has even spilled over into the church. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2nd Tim. 3:16) I would ask you to look at two of these words in this verse, reproof and correction. When was the last time a brother or sister in Christ sat you down and reproofed or corrected you, I am going to guess that it has been quite a while. It is not something that we like to do today, too many are unable to see the difference between these words and that of being judgmental, very few desire to be wounded by a faithful friend, it might be embarrassing, then we would be ashamed, we would feel shame.
Everything in these statements goes back to the beginning, all the way back to Adam and Eve, love turned to shame, the sinful nature found fruit in the heart of love, and turned it into something that caused embarrassment, it broke the intimacy of love. When we have caused wrong in the eyes of our lord, we should feel ashamed, we have brought upon His name a reason for grief, but when we fall, when our actions are of no consequence to our walk with the Lord, and are a non-viable reason for the lost to mock us, we should feel absolutely nothing. In other words my friends, when you slip and fall on the ice, don’t look around to see if anyone saw you, get back up, brush yourself off, and get back on the path.
Stop being concerned with what others think of you unless you have inadvertently dishonored the name of Christ. It is alright for them to laugh at you, if you keep speaking to them about the love that Christ also has for them, perhaps one day they will laugh with you. Until then, concern yourself with the task at hand, the path that he has you on has many pitfalls, the rebukes of the lost for your actions when they are done for Christ should not be one of them, remember they hated Him first. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” (Prov. 29:25)