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.

Judging the Calling

I listened to a radio minister talking about another minister’s message, and I can honestly say, please stop. Not everyone holds my thoughts or beliefs, nor do I expect them to. I feel it is not necessary to run another down, especially for anyone in ministry to be so egocentric that they feel they have the whole counsel of God. This doesn’t win the lost, it drives them to other beliefs. You may stand in a pulpit and share your anointing with the world, but know what spirit you are of.
The minister was thoughtful enough to not mention the person’s name he was judging, but he gave a good enough description that anyone would guess his name. The problem was that the person he spoke of didn’t mention sin when he preached. He explained he really didn’t have a need to, the people already know they are sinners. They need to know God isn’t mad at them, and wants them in his family. I agree…with both sides. They really know they are sinners, we can point that out, nothing is wrong with that. I also feel that the minister has a heart of love for people and he ministers as God has led him to do so.
The radio minister did the TV minister irreparable harm. There are people who now believe he is of the devil, although his simple ministry has led many to Christ. In fact, as a guess, more than the accusing minister. Keep your hands to yourself children…and your tongues too.
“With it, (the tongue), we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not be so.” James 3:9-10 …”Do not touch my annointed ones, and do my prophets no harm.” 1Chron. 16:22
Yeah but, you know we must point out the man’s sin or he will not know he is a sinner and may never repent! Really? So you and I must convict, is that it? We are not the Holy Spirit, though some think themselves worthy of deity. Just stay in your ministry, don’t judge another’s calling, or you will be held in judgment from all.
In the eighties, we saw the downfall of the PTL organization, that sent its founder to prison. The scandal was the devil’s hey-day as he triumphed over the church world and many believers stumbled. Many believers had heart-felt sorrow for the Bakker’s and wrapped them in love and forgiveness. One man didn’t. He was probably the most powerful preacher of the time, people literally talked of him in awe. He accepted their worship, condemned the others, and was brought down quickly himself. Prior to that event however, he weekly slaughtered Catholics, and nominal churches for their coldness in the worship of God. They didn’t do like he did.
God doesn’t share His glory with man. God doesn’t like his children be talked about. Just preach Jesus. And do yourself a favor. When you hear something you disagree with from a minister, change the channel. Anyone who reads the Bible knows to run the other way from a minister who always talks about money. Paul warns of such in Timothy, and Peter warns in his epistles. But even be wary of speaking evil against them…watch something else on the tube, better yet, go to bed, I am.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.