“This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3, 17
This morning I was considering how important the opinions of others are to me. I was amazed how desperately I wanted others to think well of me! For this I was prepared to do quite a bit. I want others to appreciate me, to think of me as friendly, helpful, nice, living my faith, standing tall in my beliefs, composed, knowledgeable… the list of positive things could be endless.
Contrary to this, it hurts me deeply when others speak badly of me or treat me with hostility. I find that very difficult to handle.
I was completely unaware how dependent I was on the opinions of others. Some things only become obvious or noticeable when they are tested. For example thirst. We only realize how strong our need for water is when we no longer have any. A steer is a herd animal and only feels good when it is amongst others of its kind. But it only realizes that when it is separated from the herd. It will do everything in its power to be reunited with the herd.
Sometimes God shows us things so that He can make them right again. Because this dependency on others leads us to make compromises with the world instead of staying on the narrow road of faith. How many Christians are caught in this vicious cycle! How many fall in love with the wrong person and are unable to find their way back. How many become useless to God, simply because they made the wrong decisions.
There is only one way out of this dependency on the opinions of others: bind yourself wholly to God, the Father, and to Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Then God’s and Jesus’ opinions of us will become more important than those of others. Let us rather believe what is written about us in the Bible and what Jesus says to us directly: You are my dear child. You are precious to me. For you I will give my life. You are like a valuable crown to me, like a gemstone, like a gold piece. I will never leave you alone, or desert you, or forget you. Look, your name is written in the palm of my hand. Even if father and mother should desert you, I will never leave you. Even when mountains and valleys shift, my love for you will never change.
Jesus, You are there! You hold me, You love me, You find joy in me! Yes, what You say about me is important to me! You are my Good Shepherd, who faithfully cares for me. I want to bind myself even tighter to You!