“I don’t care what people say about me!”
Every day thousands of people post those or similar words on Facebook or tweet them on Twitter. Somebody uploaded a compromising photo of them on Instagram. Somebody spread an ugly rumor about them on Twitter. Somebody posted private personal information about them on Facebook.
In frustration, they announce to the cyber-world: “I don’t care what people say about me!” “I don’t care what people write about me!” “I don’t care what people think about me!”
The problem is, whether they like to admit it or not, they do care. If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t write those words for others to see.
We all, to some degree, care what other people say, write and think about us. According to the psychologist Abraham Maslow, all humans have a deep visceral need for belonging and acceptance. That is one of mankind’s most basic emotional needs.
The question is: Should we care what other people say, write or think about us? In one sense, no. As Christians, the only opinion which really matters to us is God’s.
What does God say, write and think about you? He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows all the garbage in your heart and your head. He knows all of your private personal problems. God says, writes and thinks that you are a terrible sinner who deserves his punishment in hell.
Yet, because he loved you, God became a man. That God-man suffered your punishment in your place. Because God the Father punished his Son Jesus for your sins, you are forgiven. God loves you. God accepts you just as you are. That is what God says, writes and thinks about you in his Word. You should care about that.
If God loves you – if he accepts you just as you are – who cares what other people think?
Sadly, you do. Sadly, I do. But we don’t have to. Even if everyone here on earth hated you, God never will. King David once wrote, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).
That being said, however, our Savior does encourage us to be aware of what other people think about us. He tells us, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). You can’t control what other people say, write or think about you, but you can control how you live your life.
Your life is a reflection of your God. As a Christian, Jesus’ name is tattooed across your forehead. The way you live can positively affect what other people think about Jesus or it can be a stumbling block to their faith. In that sense you should care what other people say, write and think about you.
In the end, though, you cannot control what other people do. You cannot control what another person thinks about you. You can only control how you live your life.
Don’t live your life worrying and fretting about what other people say, write or think of you. Live your life remembering what God says, writes and thinks about you. Live your life reflecting his love to the world.