Have you ever worried about what others think of you that you’ve gone to great lengths to protect it?
A few years back I was introduced to someone by a mutual friend. I spent time getting to know this person while slowly developing a friendship. Very early on I noticed anytime I said a word incorrectly, or did something that differed from this person, they would make fun of it. Often times pointing out things that weren’t necessary with the intentions to embarrass me and make themselves feel better.
If we were hanging out in each other’s home or in the middle of a restaurant- if they could make fun of me or belittle me- they would take the shot every single time. It caught me off guard at first but I quickly noticed this person did this towards everyone.
They were so consumed by not wanting others to see their shortcomings they were willing to say and do whatever to keep the eyes on the faults of others. As a result the friendship died pretty quickly.
Have you ever worried about what others think of you to the point where you let it control your actions? Or, even worse, you point your fingers at other people in hopes it keeps your outward appearance shiny?
I get it, you don’t want others seeing your faults. If you can cover them up just the right amount, then people will only be able to think good of you, right? The problem is, no matter how hard you try to cover up who you really are- what’s on the inside will always come out.
Matthew 12:34-35 says, “…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good person produces good things from the treasuring of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasuring of an evil heart.”
Maybe you’re struggling at maintaining deep friendships long term because you focus on their flaws to keep the eyes off of yours. Every time you try to connect with others you go back to your old habits that push others away.
Or you desire your marriage to be full of joy but instead, all you do is focus on the shortcomings of your spouse. You speak poorly about them and place all blame on their shoulders, yet you still can’t figure out how to get ahold of that joy.
You may look at the circumstances around you and wish for them to be different. You may desire better friendships, a healthier marriage, or for a different reputation. You wish to not live with the outcomes of your decisions and you don’t want others to see you for your faults so you spend time making sure you’re “acting” the way you think you need to.
No one wants others to think poorly of them. Everyone craves acceptance and love on varies levels. But, if perfection is your motivation to a stellar reputation it will never happen. No matter how much you change yourself or your actions to fit these false ideals- what’s in your heart will be the source of your reputation. And true heart change only comes from a desire to be more like Christ.
Friend, if this is something you think about often, can I encourage you to stop spending tending to your outside appearance and instead focus on the inside?
Not everyone is going to like you, no matter what type of character you possess. When you desire to hide behind the flaws of others for the sake of your perfect reputation- that will lead you down a spiral of people pleasing and hurting everyone you come in contact with.
If your craving for others to genuinely like you by hiding your flaws, go to scripture. Allow God’s Word to transform your mind and heart to turn that craving of acceptance into a passion and desire to live like Christ. You will no longer focus on the outside because your eyes will be fixed on Christ as He changes you from the inside out.
Matthew 23:25-26 says, “…For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup, but inside you are filthy… First wash the inside of the cup and then the outside will become clean too.”
The above verse is Jesus talking to the Pharisees as He corrected their way of judging others while ignoring themselves. But isn’t this true for us also? You don’t need to wear a mask of perfection to ensure your reputation. All you need to do is choose every day to live a life that honors the Lord. You’ll be surprised at how forgiving others can be when your flaws do make an appearance when your motive isn’t perfection.