5. I thought I could control what people thought about me.
I remember the first time I read something negative about me on the Internet. It literally destroyed me. Seriously, it was like someone took a knife and jabbed it into my soul. I read it about four or five times, and for the next several days I hyper-focused on that particular website and had this thought, “If this person and I could only meet and chat I think I could change his mind.”
It didn’t take long for me to realize that no matter what I did, no matter how many conversations I had, no matter how many olive branches I extended, there were going to be people who hated me, slandered me and despised me. And there was literally nothing I could do about it.
Church leader, you cannot control what people think about you, and you can’t worry about it either. Jesus had a group of people who hated Him and followed Him everywhere He went, pointing out His “faults,” yet He stayed true to the vision His Father placed inside of Him and didn’t engage in trying to change their minds about Him.
If you want to silence your critics then you must:
- Keep your eyes on Jesus. (Craig Groeschel says that becoming obsessed with what people think about me is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about me.) Let Him, not “them,” define you!
- Live a life of integrity (I Peter 2:15).
The rest is in God’s hands. You cannot shape the opinions of others; you can only be true to who God called you to be.