There’s an old adage that goes something like this:
“If one person says you’re an idiot, ignore him. If two people say you’re an idiot, shrug it off to coincidence. If three people say you’re an idiot, you might want to do some self evaluation. But if four people say you’re an idiot, you’re an idiot.”
In the grand scheme of things, how much weight should you give other people’s opinions of you?
Some people try not to care what people think. I grew up in the 80’s, which was populated by big hair, preppies, tie-dye jeans, Motley Crue, and Punk Rockers. The funny thing is that the punkers happened to be some of the most image conscious people of all.
We say we don’t care
Bout’ folks and their rot
But in truth we all care
A whole awful lot.
But should we?
Well, I’m not sure about “a whole awful lot,” but yes, I believe what people think of us is supremely important. Let’s take Tiger Woods, for example. On one level, who cares what the world thinks? If I were him, I’d say, “Screw the world and the media, I need to work on my life and do what it takes to make things right no matter what anyone thinks.”
On the other hand, to say that what the world thinks about him doesn’t matter is very ostrich-in-the-sand like. Cause the world includes Elin, his soon to be former wife. Does it matter what she thinks? Does it matter what his extended family thinks? Does it matter what his friends think? You bet it does.
In fact, the ONLY thing that has really changed for Tiger this past month is public perception. What’s changed is our answer to the question, “Who is Tiger Woods?” Because a month ago, before the tree jumped out and hit his vehicle, he was doing the same things he’d always done, being the same person he’d always been. Whether or not all of this is any of our business is secondary to this discussion about whether or not what we think matters, or to put it differently, whether or not any of us are right.
The fact is, we all have blind spots, and there are people all around us that see things about us that we don’t see ourselves. Or things that are a bigger deal than we realize. Or things that are non-issues that we think are deal-breakers.
It’s actually pretty important that we realize that many people are right about us, at least a little bit. Enough to pay attention to and benefit from. I think I’m preaching clearly, let’s say, but the congregation is confused. For me to say, “I don’t care what people think,” is just plain silly. If I think I’m a nice guy, but people think I’m stuck up and selfish, that’s an issue. At the very least, I should consider the fact that what I think I’m projecting isn’t what’s being received and adjust my approach accordingly.
And I hope none of us would make a list of the non-Christians we know and say, “I don’t care what they think of me.” No, what they think of me is of supreme importance.
So how do I balance who I think I am with what other people think I am?
This is where God comes into the picture.
Which will be the subject of my next post.