Should we care what people think about us? There are those who obsesses over it. They care what others are saying about them; about their looks; how they live their life; their careers. It can really drive a person crazy.
It always reminds me of my kids. Little Jovana, for instance, will come running to us crying. We ask what’s the matter and she’ll say such-and-such said she doesn’t know how to – I don’t know, say….. ride a bike. Then we ask, Do you know how to ride a bike? Yes, she says wiping her tears. Well then why are you upset?
Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating Sts. Peter and Paul according to the church’s calendar. In the gospel that’s read at liturgy that morning we hear how Jesus asks His Disciples, What do people say about Me, who am I? When they tell Him what people are saying, He then asks His Disciples: and what about you, what do you say, Who am I?
Of course when Christ asked this question it wasn’t because He was worried about His reputation. It was linked to His identity as the Christ, the Son of the living God who is our salvation. We, on the other hand, as human and weak want to know what others are saying about us because we hope it’s flattering. We want to hear things that’ll build up our ego.
But just like little Jovana who is crying because someone said something to her and it hurt her feelings – even though it wasn’t even true!!! – we can’t care about what others are thinking or saying about us. It’s a complete waste of time. Unless, of course, what they’re saying is true. Then we should work to correct ourselves, lest our actions affect those around us, which they inevitably do. Or, as we read in Matthew’s gospel, “But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
We should want people to know us by our good deeds. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,” says Proverbs.
For everything else, let God be the judge.