“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” ~ Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)
Some Korean culture I learned while I lived there was their idea of “saving face.” From what my Korean friends told me, everything they do and how they are perceived must look good. Getting the best grades, going to the best universities, and getting the best jobs. Good behavior, attractive appearance, positive expressions. They are very much concerned of how people look at them. When I came to Korea as an exchange student, I saw how many international students around me were also falling into that same culture. They bought more than they could afford just to look good and even sometimes look pleasing in the eyes of Koreans.
Even at work here in the States it sometimes feels like walking on eggshells. Although I want to gain the respect and attention of my boss, I also want to communicate and relate well with my coworkers. This is frustrating when I try so hard to look good to everyone. It’s tiring trying to please everyone. Unfortunately, I cannot please them all. It can lead to daily battles in which we might find ourselves having to choose between man and God.
Who’s opinion of us is more important: the opinion of man or the opinion of God? First of all, the Lord did not put us on earth to fear man. Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” (NIV). No, our main priority is God. But when we are not seeking the Lord, we sure fall into the pleasing of people. And it’s quite easy to do that because we are surrounded by family, friends, coworkers, etc. every day.
Jeremiah 17: 5 says, ”This is what the Lord says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord”’ (NIV). Be aware that when we choose to fear the Lord, we will disappoint some people. Although God speaks to us through people at times, people are not our ultimate goal in life: it is God. They do not give us the ultimate strength that we need to overcome spiritual battles for example. I am not trying to undermine the importance of human relationships and community, but I want to know just how much more we seek for human approval? Is it more than our desire for the approval of God. Moreover, relying too much on what people say and think about us can put in thoughts and views on ourselves that should never have been put there in the first place. These views can bring on us insecure feelings about ourselves, losing confidence in who we are as children of God.
Although it would take too much time to write in detail about Jesus as an example, I do want to point out that Jesus, although not physically attractive (Isaiah 53:2), put Himself out there to do the will of the God with such humbleness and meekness. Did the words of people bother Him at all? Well, although Jesus was 100% divine, let me remind you, Jesus was 100% human. In addition, in God’s own words as Jesus was getting baptized, He said, ”’You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”’ (NIV). To hear those words coming from God is worth so much more than hearing it from anyone else.
What is more prominent in your life: the opinion of people or of God? Hope this encouraged you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving Week!