Read 1 Peter 2:12-17
12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong,they will see your honorable behavior,and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
13 For the Lord’s sake,submit to all human authority-whether the king as head of state,14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free,yet you are God’s slaves,so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone,and love the family of believers. Fear God,and respect the king. (NLT)
We sometimes hear people saying they don’t care what others think about them. And,sadly,we sometimes hear people applauding such a sentiment. Such a person is honoured as being their own person,a free individual,not bound by traditions or rules.
It is not the Christian way. We are to care what others think. Their opinions do matter. We are not free to live in human society without regard for what other human beings think of who we are and what we do. The ‘I don’t care what others think’ statement is not one of freedom but of sheer egocentricity.
Of course there will be times that our following Jesus will mean disfavour from others. The opinions and expectations of others will not take priority over the teachings of Jesus. We are not to be creatures of the many and varied expectations of others.
But Peter reminds us that those who follow Jesus are to be good representatives of him. We are not to live merely for ourselves. We don’t simply live by what others might think of us but live by what Jesus expects of us. Yet in doing so,we care very much how people see us. Not as some pouting,disrespectful egotists but as those whose quality of life points the way to Jesus.