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I care about the approval of men too much

I have a confession to make. Though by nature I’m fairly self-reliant, I really do care what other people say about me. To an alarming degree, it matters what you think. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish I could just flip some switch, and your approval meant nothing to me, but, hey – it is…
By Seth Barnes

I have a confession to make. Though by nature I’m fairly self-reliant, I really do care what other people say about me. To an alarming degree, it matters what you think.

approvalI wish that weren’t the case. I wish I could just flip some switch, and your approval meant nothing to me, but, hey – it is what it is. I know about how we as Christians should “find our identity in Christ.” I write about that stuff, for goodness sakes. I know that as a leader, you can’t get everyone to like you. It’s better that they respect you.

Yet, here I sit, wondering, for example, what you think about the latest blog. Does it scratch an itch you’ve got? Does it provoke you to pursue greatness? I look at the comments at the end of these blogs and to some minor degree, measure my worth every day by how many of you responded. I care about people and can be real pastoral sometimes. A lot of pastors actually struggle like I do with this.

I don’t like blogging so much on weekends – I’m “preaching” to smaller numbers on weekends. And I don’t much like preaching at churches. My message tends to be about missions and the kingdom and most church-goers have only a passing interest in such things.

Today, I’m flying up to Chicago to preach to a Baptist church that’s going with us to Guatemala this summer. “What will they think of my provocative message?” my mind wonders – mentally I’m wringing my hands. And I’m tempted to water down the message so that it will be more palatable.

Can you imagine John the Baptist being that way? I’d have made a terrible John the Baptist. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand!” I’d shout to the crowds.

“What are you talking about?” Someone would yell back.

And I’d probably go fumbling thru my sermon notes: “Hang on a second. It’s here somewhere.”

This week I had to talk to a couple of parents who are forbidding their 24 year-old daughter to go on the World Race. “She’s grown up enough, we’re happy with the way she is. We don’t care if she grows anymore.” Part of me wants to cuss them out. But I reason with them and am civil. I don’t issue any ultimatums or tell them they’re making the worst mistake of their lives (see Cost-me-nothing missions).

Somewhere there is a balance. We all need to care less. But getting there is a pain in the rear.

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