The Sting of Public Opinion

Most of my life I have been concerned with what people think about me. I have worked hard to appear in clothes that wasn’t too uncool, and try not to say uncool things, or have opinions that went against general consensus. Today that has changed in many ways. I still care how I may appear. After spending some time in recovery from alcoholism however, I discovered that it’s not important what you think of me, but what I think of you.
I know that my opinion of you determines my growth as a follower of Christ working to stay clean and sober. I try to look at everyone through these new glasses, look for the good in everyone, and worry less of how they see me. Concern of how we appear to others, how well our family appears to do in life, can be deceitful and deadly if a family member has an addiction, and we are afraid to seek help for them, fearing of what others may think. Fear of opinion can take people into massive debt, for the sake of appearing well off. Coming to grips with who we are, accepting our standing in life, trusting that God can and will improve our position among men, indicates our freedom from people’s approval.
“The fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord is kept safe.” Prov. 29:25 (NIV)
Politicians are often caught by words they say, because they say so many words. One politician was running for office and trying to impress the evangelicals as to his Bible knowledge. When asked his favorite book in the Bible he said, “the book of Noah.” It was funny at the time, but it is fear of not getting the vote that the politician lied rather than just being truthful, and admitting he didn’t know much about the Bible.  This is the case for many of us. Fearing man’s opinion causes dishonesty in everyone at one point.
Think about the times you may have been dishonest, not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. It happens often. How do we really free ourselves from the fear of man? Of all worldly fears, I consider the fear of how we “look” to be, the worst of all fears. First of all, pray. Ask God to help you focus on areas to serve. When you get outside of yourself, you pay little attention to what others think. If your busy helping others, you’ll find how little you matter. Second, get rid of the uniqueness you think you own. You are not unique, God didn’t destroy the mold after He designed you. He didn’t think I can’t improve on this one! You are no different from anyone. You will face the same problems, probably experience the same victories, etc. You can be an alcoholic or a drug addict, in spite of your personal goodness. You can be killed in an accident, so wear your seat belt. You can fall down, so watch your step! People really feel that anything bad couldn’t happen to them. (sorry didn’t mean to get off topic)
The third thing to do is read the Word. It is the medicine that builds faith and destroys fears. Don’t let fear of public opinion run your life. Build faith in who you are in Christ! Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all,Keith.

Fears Failure

If I sat down and made a list of my lifelong fears, I would be writing for quite a long period of time. Healthy fears, like falling, drowning, or being burned with fire, wouldn’t have to be mentioned. Reality checks can cause me to see that a good majority of my fears are unnecessary worries. That is where fear fails…when I can stop and think through the scenario of these petty fears. they don’t all make sense. I watch a show on TV where a mountain climber is hanging by his index finger, three thousand feet below is solid ground, and I’m having cold-sweats watching the action. That is where, thank God, I realize that this is not me hanging there. Those fears vanish the moment I change the channel.

 

I cannot however, change the channel on fears that I face in real life. The fear of man, of not being liked or accepted, the fear of failure, the fear of missing out, of not being loved, and of rejection, are real, and really unnecessary. Addictions to drink and dope, to food, to gambling, and every unhealthy habit, is fear based. If I don’t at least take a hit of that joint, they won’t think I’m cool, or they may think I’m a coward, the teenager thinks. So he takes a hit, and thirty years later he comes out of the seventh time in rehab thinking, I’ll never get off of this dope, I may as well be dead. Then he proceeds to commit those most selfish of acts, and end it all. His fears rule and master him, though his wife, children, parents, and friends really believe he will make it this time. His little boy, looking at his father in the coffin says to himself, I hate you, look what you did to mommy and me, I’ll never be like you! Within a short period of time, he is just like daddy.

 

These are real fears, real people deal with. We all have them. They must not have us. My long list are fears that arise through past failures, bad “breaks,” we think. We should look in retrospect at those failures. We may see the failure was a good thing, and improved us. If that is the case, fear failed again, we can let that fear be wadded up and thrown into life’s trashbucket.

 

When I wrote some of my first blogs, I really feared that people wouldn’t like them, so why start? But facing the fear like David against the giant, I blogged, some people liked the blogs, and became regular readers. Those numbers grow, and I am grateful to God and the readers. I didn’t fear when I sent the manuscript to my book to a publisher. I knew they only took less than 3% of the books that they are sent the manuscript to. When fear set in, was when I knew the book was soon to be released…what if no one buys it? what if they hate it? It’s ok Keith…the Voice whispers, you know what to do.

 

I do. I know what to do. Keep going. Keep trusting. Stay surrendered. So long fear, you lost once again. As my faith in God grows, fear weakens. When I catch a glimpse of the reality, that Christ is for me, fears fails.

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of  a sound mind.” 2Tim.1:7 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1John 4:18

 

That young boy who’s father could not face his fears and ended his life, could not have helped his son face his fears, nor teach him the way of love and life. It was that fear of man, not being one of the “cool cats,” that took him to his early selfish end. I know people have this struggle day to day, facing these fears. Don’t face them alone. Ask God to help you, get to professional help that will give you godly direction. Fears can always fail when we enthrone God in the center of our hearts through Christ Jesus. Let Him teach you how to put fear in it’s place, under your feet. Change the channel on those petty fears, go to God with life altering fears.

 

Fears fail when faith and love rises up in us through Jesus. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith