Dear Church of the Open Bible,
You should care about what others think of you. It matters.
We have two teenagers in our house and a few more in the wings. One of the truths we want them to understand is that their identity and worth come from God and not from others. They are made in His image, and by grace through their faith in Christ, they belong to Him. They should not care about what others tell them about who they are. But the second truth we want them to understand is that how they are, matters. How they live and conduct themselves is important. Over and over again, this aspect of the Christian life is emphasized in Scripture.
The Thessalonians are told to work hard and not be disruptive, “so that you may walk properly before outsiders…” (1 Thess 4:12). Paul instructs that elders must lead the flock by being “well thought of by outsiders” (1 Tim 3:7). And then he encourages Titus similarly:
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” - Titus 2:7–8
We encourage our children when they get good marks on a test or in a subject at school. But that’s less important than how they treat others. We want to celebrate when they are kind to their classmates and when they respect their teachers. This matters more than scholastic success. We have a ways to go but God is gracious. So let me ask you, “How are you thought of by outsiders? What do your neighbours think of you, and do you care?” By God’s grace, may we be well thought of, lining up who we are before God with how we live before others.