I heard someone say the other day “what someone thinks of you is none of your business.” That is a grating statement to say to someone, but it is a good thing to know.
I was listening to a book on CD about a man named St. John of God. He had done so many sins in wartime that he wanted everyone to think he was a lunatic, and was happy when he was put in an asylum. He wanted people to look down on him. St. John of the Cross however told him that it wasn’t right. He was using up resources that should go to those who were truly crazy. In his striving for others to think badly of him, he had not done what was right.
In addition, John of God was getting in the way of what God wanted to do through him. Tucked away in an asylum, he could not do the missionary work that later made a difference in so many lives. As part of this missionary work, he helped women escape from prostitution and live reputable lives. In his work here, he was accused of having ulterior motives. He responded by letting people think what they like. He’d done so many sins in the past, what is one accusation? After all, if it were not for the Grace of God they many indeed be correct.
And thus we see someone who accepted what others thought of him, but learned not to try to control it or worry about it. “What others think of you is none of your business.”
Where does this thinking break down? I don’t know. Isn’t it important that a boss have faith in you or you know your wife loves you? I don’t know how to answer these questions, but I know two things. 1) Worrying what others think gets in the way of peace. And 2) Our first job is to serve God and others. If what they think of me gets in the way of doing just that, it may be time to do something. If it doesn’t perhaps it is time to let it go.
PS I find this very difficult. If you do too, know that I’m right there with you. May God bless your day.