Don't Worry What Others Think — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Don’t Worry What Others Think — Morning Devotions

We all have a deep need for love and recognition, but that need can only be fulfilled in God. There's only one person worth impressing.

By Chris WittsFriday 14 Oct 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Are you one of these people who worry about what others think of you? I’ve got a feeling that many do. I vividly recall my mother making sure I took some breath freshener tablets on my way to the dentist and when I asked her why, she said that “so your breath won’t cause offence to the dentist.” My dear mum was careful not to cause offence to anyone. I wonder how common this is. It’s not the sort of topic everyone is prepared to open up with.

We all have a deep need to be liked, respected, admired and approved of. And in our quest for this recognition, we often behave in a certain way to impress others and to win their appreciation, even telling lies. Rather than risking the rejection of others, we may say ‘yes’ when we really mean ‘no’. We may try to please everyone. Now that doesn’t work. It sets us up for disappointment and resentment because it’s impossible to please everyone you just can’t do so.

Us humans have developed a strong desire to be accepted by others, and we possess a deep fear of rejection by other people. When you concentrate too much on other people’s opinions, you’ll definitely forget who you really are because you end up living a false life, and that’s not what true existence entails. You want to live your life to the full every way that you can. Not bound up by trying to please others.

The truth behind our worries

Remember, they’re not really paying attention to your life anyway. Most people have their lives and their problems and the demons they’re battling with. Typically, they’ve got little or no time to scrutinise your life. Most opinions people give about you might really not be what they had a deep thought about. It could be just an instantaneous comment. They really don’t have much time to think about you. So why should you bother? Why stress yourself out? To live in accordance with an opinion that someone gave without thinking doesn’t make much sense?

There is the popular saying now that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion? And that’s fair enough. We all have a different perspective, opinion and belief, and most times people’s opinions about you is based on their own perspective, not yours. So be yourself, not for others. And stop worrying about what others think of you. It will only cause you distress and keep you awake at night. Putting your focus on trying to please others is like an uphill battle. You’ve got no chance of winning. I think we need to look at our core belief system. That is the way we see ourselves.

Neil Walsh wrote, “So long as you’re worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. It’s only when you require no approval outside yourself, can you own yourself?” You can only control your own action and words. Deep down, I think we fear that others will reject us, and that’s why we worry about what others think. We’re seeking their approval to give us significance and value, but I want to say this morning that’s not necessary. God already loves you more than you can imagine, and he calls you worthy and valuable.

You don’t have to live in fear of what others think about you. Perfect love drives out fear, as the Bible says in 1 John 4:18 and having God as your friend and guide will make all the difference. You only need to please Him and not everyone else. I like what the author and philosopher Oz Guinness once said. “I lived before the audience of one well before others. I have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose.” And he was talking about God, the maker of our universe.

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And when we waste the gift of time worrying about what others think, we are distracted from what our purpose really is. Working for the approval of people is also a drain on your energy and time. Why? Because people change all the time.

What pleases people today won’t please others tomorrow. And once you accept Jesus Christ into your life, you are approved by God, and nothing you do good or bad can change that. In the Old Testament, Proverbs 29:25 says, “If you fear other people, you are walking into a dangerous trap. But if you trust in the eternal, you will be safe” and the message paraphrase puts it probably in a better way. “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”

Don’t let your fear of others become so paralysing that your life becomes a shipwreck. It’s not what God wants for you. When you give more weight to the opinions of others than you do to God’s opinion, you’ll stay on the sidelines when God wants you in the game.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, so often we get caught in this trap. And so, Lord, will you help us to quit worrying what others think and instead to seek what it is that you want from us. And, Lord, once we find that, we know that we’re on the path to true happiness, amen.