“What other people think about me is none of my business” – RuPaul
This Sunday’s readings: 1st reading: ACTS 14:21-27, 2nd reading: REV 21:1-5A, Gospel: JN 13:31-33A, 34-35 all speak of the newness of life, the miracles of Jesus done with great kindness, mercy and forgiveness, how we are asked to love those whom have hurt us. It was something I expressed to my children over the years: “You may not love your _______ at the moment, but you are asked to respect them, liking them isn’t required.” But what I would also do was try to put things into perspective, help each see the goodness in the other, try to help them see that it is a MOMENTARY thing that it will pass, try to bring them back to each other.
This Sunday we heard in our pastor’s sermon that we are called to love all those who hurt us, praying for them as the best response to their actions, and suddenly the voice of RuPaul Charles comes to mind: “What other people think about me is none of my business” How true is this statement? It is true that we have no control over what others think of us, but what is not said often enough is that their thought DOES NOT change our worth in God’s eyes, and who WE TRULY ARE.
Still the thoughts of others do affect us. If it were not true than bullying would not be the huge problem it is. If it were not true than actions that loved ones do should not hurt us. If it were not true we would not care what others thought of us; we would live in world where acts of violence, (emotional, spiritual or physical), were not the first answer to solving anything. But its not.
So, why do we take so much of this onto our hearts? One is that we want others to be and do exactly what we want which makes being authentic to each other impossible. We may be externalizing: seeking affirmation and acceptance from others because we can not or have not yet learned how to create those within our own self. We may be seeking control over others actions to stop whatever we do not want or like.
What of those who express thoughts about us? Many of us believe that our words are important and can help improve someone else’s live; in this we are really just speaking our own thoughts about who we believe we are and not any great universal truth. We assume that our advice will be appreciated I have found that very few what to hear what advice I have for them because I am NOT living their life and therefore have no idea what they need to hear. Still there are those who feel they have a right to say whatever they want about us: Gossip and spite rule these and the thoughts come from a place of hurt; they are hurt so they wish to hurt.
The truth is it is all in context. There are times when it VERY IMPORTANT FOR US TO MAKE IT OUR BUSINESS WHAT OTHERS ARE THINKING! We should be worried about what others think of us, in some way there may be truth that God is speaking to us through others: Insight. Importantly we must step in when others are speaking badly about someone else: Gossip. It is important for us to defend the defenseless: Bullying
Let’s get out of hearts and into our heads with this issue. Are we being called to defend others, learn more about ourselves to change positively, to be the bulwark against hatred? If it is an issue of justice than worry, if it is an issue of ego…forgetaboutit.