“When we live for the approval of God, we need not be disturbed by the opinion of others.”
Nice thought. Still, the Bible tells us that God already loves us–regardless. And If we were honest, I think most of us would admit that the opinions of others do exercise quite a bit of influence in our lives. We like to be liked—and that is normal. It is also important for us to be mindful of the opinions and feelings of other people.
The question for us here is, “Just how much influence do the opinions of others have on our lives?” Do we set constantly set aside our feelings, or remain silent on life issues that are critical to us just to keep the peace? Do we remain silent in the face of injustice because we do not want to be thought of as fanatics?
In the Bible, the apostle Paul said that he became all things to all people in order that he might save some. At first glance, this statement may make Paul look like a people pleaser. If we read more about Paul, however, we quickly learn that he was anything but a people pleaser. It seems, rather, that Paul attempted to strike a balance by listening to the views of others, while expressing his own strongly-held beliefs. I’m sure he wasn’t always successful; at the same time, it seems like at least he gave it a shot.
Who knows? Maybe balancing our strongly-held beliefs in respectful tension with differing viewpoints is another way we can honor God.
What do you think? Is it worth a shot?
Grace and Peace,
Holy Covenant MCC
Brookfield, IL USA
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Romans 13:9
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary — the evil it does is permanent.
– Mahatma Gandhi
In many parts of the world the people are searching for a solution which would link the two basic values: peace and justice. The two are like bread and salt for mankind.
– Lech Walesa
from his Nobel Lecture
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