“But how can I show what the people of this generation are like? They are like children sitting in the market-place calling out to their friends,’We played at weddings for you but you wouldn’t dance,and we played at funerals and you wouldn’t cry!’
For John came in the strictest austerity and people say,’He’s crazy!’ Then the Son of Man came,enjoying life,and people say,’Look,a drunkard and a glutton-the bosom-friend of the tax-collector and the sinner.’ Ah,well,wisdom stands or falls by her own actions.” (JBP)
If our lives are shaped by trying to meet the expectations of others we truly can’t win. You simply can’t please everybody. Jesus makes this point when speaking about John the Baptist. John’s austere message and conduct was attacked. Then Jesus’ message and conduct were attacked from the opposite angle. Both John and Jesus didn’t conform to what people expected of them or desired from them.
It is true that we cannot ignore others’ opinions of ourselves. They may have something legitimate to say even if it is uncomfortable. But to base our lives on trying to please everybody is a prescription for frustration. We end up having no integrity or identity of our own,becoming the product of what others want. We march to the beat of so many different and demanding drummers that we end up not knowing where we are going.
Elsewhere,Paul reminds us that others’ opinions matter,but they don’t matter most. Not even his own estimation of himself is conclusive as this can be distorted. Ultimately it is God’s opinion of us that counts. March to his drumbeat and we end up stepping in the right direction.