Stop Caring About What Others Think About You
This is the Manuscript to a small message I gave at a youth group last week in Madison, Connecticut. Hope you like it!
How to stop caring what others think about you :)
There are 2 different ways to go about life:
Caring what others think about you and
Caring about others!
I know thats really simplified, but I want to tell 2 stories :)
Who knows what a Vegan is?
A vegan is someone who won't eat anything that came from anything that has a mommy :) SO no meat no dairy, no fun.
Well when you get to college you'll find people experimenting with all kinds of crazy things, doing weird stuff and trying to make the most of the #collegeexperience.
I apparently got the wrong college-fun guide, because my bright idea of being crazy was to become a vegan!
I mean how is a college supposed to be filled with party animals if I keep eating all the animals!
SO for like a year, I stopped eating any meat or dairy, and yes that means CHEESE! I know! You’re probably wondering how I’m alive right now!
Well, like other college students, I was poor. SO when my friend brought home a bag of black moldy grapefruit that he got from a homeless shelter, I figured AH! I can just WASH IT OFF!
I ate that grapefruit.
And wouldn’t you believe it, for some reason the next morning my body had turned into a walking mutant pickle.
I show up to the hospital ( and I can breathe fine!) and walk to the emergency room (well waddle is more the word).
The lady at the desk doesn't even look up, she just goes “what can I do for you”
and I say
erm, um. I think I’m sick. I don’t know if I’m having emergency or not but there was no one at thefront desk so…
she looks up and I kid you not she drops her pen and goes “YOU’RE HAVING AN EMERGENCY!”
which is always a good thing to hear!
At this point they get a bunch of lab coated smart people to escort me through the waiting room
and as I pass by a guy with a huge bandage on his head, and a woman whose face looks white I’m thinking to myself, “whats everyone looking at?”
Oh yeah its the giant walking pickle!
Long story short, they never figured out what was wrong with me, they pumped me full of all kinds of funky colored juice and then sent me on my way to get some prescriptions from the pharmacy.
I get to the grocery store, go to the pharmacy, walk up to the counter and hand this girl my prescription papers.
and then she says, It’ll be about 10 minutes, you can just hang out in the store. and we’ll call your name when your prescriptions ready.
That was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
People passed by me with these crazy glances, pointing me out to their friends, whispering to one another as they saw me.
Babies cried, old men fainted, and a woman shouted, “stay back you monster!”
ok that last part wasn’t true.
But it felt like everyone was talking about the freak trying to hide in the shampoo aisle.
I was so embarrassed and all I wanted to do was disappear.
Ever been there?
I have another story for you:
This one’s much shorter.
In high school I played the upright bass for my schools orchestra.
anyone here play any instruments? Do you know what the upright bass is? It’s like a very oversized violin! You have to stand up when you play it and it sounds like “buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh”
So anyway, we’re in the middle of a beautiful piece of music. Proooooooobablyyyyyy Movement number two in Samuel Barbers String Qaurtet, Adagio for Strings in B minor, completed in 1936, or something like that but I can’t remember.
Well in the middle of this piece is a famous contemplative pause where everything goes completely silent after a big loud crescendo!
and at one such a time during rehearsal, my nose, like a French artillery officer with a canon, went (with french accent) “ONE TWO THREE, FIRE!!”
and all at once a warlike barrage of snot and sticky gunk riddled my shirt.
i’d been shot
The instruments stopped.
Everyone stared at me, the snot still a perfect icicle from my nostril to my chest.
And I just said the first thing that came to my head
“This happens when I get nervous!”
And the place ROARED with laughter.
Now what’s the difference between how I handled these two scenarios.
In one scenario I felt so embarrassed that I was hiding my face with random bottles of garnier fructis sleek and shine
and in the other I had the entire room falling out of their chairs with laughter.
What’s the difference?
I think it ultimately has to do with where my mind was at in each situation.
In the grocery store, I was so concerned with what others thought about me that it was crippling.
In the orchestra, even though I looked like a gross mess, I actually used that to make others laugh and feel good!
It’s the difference between caring what others think and caring about others.
So how do we stop caring what others think in a way thats unhealthy, and start caring about others so that we’re living a life like Jesus did?
Let’s take a quickie-do-lookie-do at
So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 43 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Does anyone here have an instagram? or does anyone have anyone on youtube they follow? Or a Facebook? And this definitely applies at your schools too!
Have you ever gone on social media, or gone to school and theres just someone who gets A LOT of attention and in a way, they’re kind of full of themselves.
They get so many likes on their pictures and statuses and tweets and you just know their snapchat has got to have tons of followers. And they’re always flaunting how cool their life is, how good looking they are, or great it is to be them?
and inside you feel something is off. It feels like someone just made fun of you in front of your friends, and people are laughing at you and saying nasty stuff about you. Lime someone just punched you in the gut.
Ever feel that?
That’s what Jesus is talking about.
These people that you know or follow, they are constantly showing off their influence, and, honestly, sometimes they’re doing it in a way that looks really innocent.
Maybe YOU do this with your social media.
You post things that aren't inherently bad and that don’t put others down, but deep down the purpose is so that other people think that you’re cool or hot or wise or adventurous or you want to make it known to everyone that you care soooo much about your friends and other people; that you’re a reeeeally good person.
Sometimes even that stuff can be posted because inside we’re really insecure and scared that people won’t love us without those posts.
That’s dangerous. You’re looking for love and affection and attention from people.
The truth is: You DO need love and affection and affirmation and acceptance, but you’re trying to draw water from a well that is dried up. And even if you’re on top, you have to keep on proving yourself because hey someone may just top you! Or there’s still that ONE person who doesn’t think you’re the greatest thing since frozen lemonade.
Everyone feels this!
It’s not bad to want to be loved.
In fact, you were made to be loved!
But even if you were loved by the greatest most beautiful person on the face of the earth, the person with the acclaim of the entire world, the one who everyone wants to be just like and everyone looks up to, your need for love would still not be fulfilled.
Even if you had the nations bowing at your feet begging you to receive their love and affection; even if your praises were sung by grateful men and women everywhere, and you could ravage everything that the world had to offer, indulging every dark desire you’ve ever had.
In the words of Dustin Kensrue, in the song It’s Not Enough, “You could walk the world forever till your shoes were filled with blood, [but] it’s not enough.”
and if you don’t get that, you will keep starving for these things until it literally kills you.
Your soul needs affection so grand and so big that everything in the world could not fill it,
You need the affection and attention of someone so incredible and so majestic that no one could dispute how amazing they are.
You need the satisfaction of knowing that even when you got this love, you would never lose it.
You need God.
So if you thought this was a message of 10 steps to get over people who don’t accept you, it’s not.
This isn’t message about how to make the most of your life,
its a message about how if you try to save your life you will lose it, you will die sad and unfulfilled in pursuit of the very things that would make you their slave: money, fame, a good reputation, that person you’ve always wanted
if you give up your life, then you will find it.
Pastor Tim Keller once said,
“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness [that] otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’.”
The religion of instagram, the religion of snapchat, the religion of impressing people, the religion of being true to who you are. If you just give everything to this- then you’ll be accepted - they say.
But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and [you’re] sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”
Being accepted by God, your creator, your best friend, and your source of life, and being SURE of that is what you actually need.
And heres where Jesus gives us the antidote to this self absorption that we have. The difference between caring what others think and caring about others is this,
“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus is saying that what he came to do was not to be served, but to serve. And that’s what you came to do as well.
You were not created to make an empire for yourself, you weren’t made to make yourself look as good as you possibly can so that the world would know your name and call you the great and wonderful one. That won’t bring peace to your heart.
You’ll only find peace when you give up your life and all of this worry about how you look and what everyone thinks of you, and take up the life that Jesus would give you. Once you know, and ONLY once you know, that you’ve been accepted by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will you be able to truly let go of your fears and self-focus and live for him, which ultimately means becoming a servant to everybody.
Once you see how broken and helpless you really are and cast yourself upon Jesus to make you whole, then will you actually find life.
And once you realize this, and, like Jesus, see yourself as everyone’s servant, the way you act changes sooooooooooooo much.
All of sudden, people aren’t customers that you’re begging to win over. They’re no longer a collection of likes and comments and compliments to make you feel good.
People are now people again.
And you can see them as hurting, and broken, and needing the affection that YOU have.
Compassion will well up inside of you because everyone who isn’t led by Jesus will seem like a sheep without a shepherd, and it doesn’t even cross your mind to not give away all you have for their sake.
Once you’re a servant of Jesus, what can a person do to offend you? What could they possibly do or say to violate your status?
You’re untouchable! You’ve been accepted by the Most High God! That person’s creator calls you beloved! What can they say or do to take that away!? Nothing.
Once you realize this, peoples opinions just don’t matter as much. You’d way rather just care about them and make them happy! And, you can finally laugh at how ridiculously hilarious you actually are!
Because, let’s be honest, we’re not all as cool and lit and we’d like to think. Are we :)
We’re kinda weird.
If I had been thinking this way when I was burying my face in those shampoo bottles at that grocery store,
maybe instead of feeling so embarrassed that I wanted to disappear,
wouldn’t it have been so much better if I had used my bubbly moldy cheese face to make people laugh?
What if I had my friend film me asking out cute girls with cheesy pick up lines and the face of roadkill!?
Or if I stood by the candy aisle and told some pesky kid who’s bothering his mom
I WANT CANDY I WANT CANDY!
that if he didn’t want to look like me that he should listen to his mom and never eat candy again!
I’m sure she would have been grateful! And maybe scared haha.
But when you take the INCREDIBLE example of Jesus who gave up his entire life for others, can’t you just do a little more to go out of your way to live for other people.
Ultimately can’t you tell people that the life they really need is only found in Jesus?
What’s stopping you!?
You’re afraid of their opinions!?
Dude, if God has saved you then God lives inside of you. When you speak the gospel, those words ARE the power of salvation that that person needs to be saved from the eternal separation from God they’re living in.
I think its worth it.
Maybe you need that power in you. Maybe you’re weighed down with the opinions of people, or you’ve been living a life that’s all about you and you’re ready to finally give up. You’re exhausted.
Throw yourself at Jesus. Give literally everything up for his sake. When you do this, you’ll find life. Abundant life.
Don’t be like me just saying, “what if, what if, what if,” about my time in the grocery store —
Take advantage of opportunities you see around you right now, and go be servants of everybody.
Take the example of Jesus, and give your life up! Then you’ll find it.
You’ll be glad you did.
That’s how you stop caring what others think about you and start caring about others.