Monday, August 28, 2017

Don't Care What People Think

I must be a glutton for hate because I keep writing commentary on scripture which is at odds with the way people want to live their lives. I'm guilty but please don't hate me for it because I am speaking to myself as well. Well, here goes:

A defense of alternate appearance is "I don't care what people think!" I've heard that so often. However, when some of those same people failed to get a job they wanted, they add, "It's because of how I look/act/behave or whatever." There are standards that are set by society. Those standards are adjusted more liberally with time, but as they move forward, so do those of alternate appearance.

As a former manager who sometimes hired people, regardless of what we said, we did look at the appearance of people. How people present themselves is an expression of what is important to them. For me, even an earring hole made me wonder, "What is important to this guy?" It seems silly now but at one time it was the very different people who wore what was considered female jewelry. Nowadays, that seems so unfair but it was an announcement: "I don't care what people think!"

The extreme this instant was radical in years past. A swim at the waterpark reveals what is important to people. Piercings of all types, and huge and numerous tattoos are in vogue. Even beautiful women have intentionally ruined their beautiful God-given skin by discoloring it.  Others look like pigs released from the ringing crate with what appears to be boogers beneath their noses. People show off their body art, not caring what others think.

For others, it's silly hairstyles. Man-buns are ugly even on women. Pony-tails extending from the crowns of men are feminine. If you don't like my thoughts, you've said many times, "I don't care what people think!" I am one of those people, and there are many others of the same notion.

Some women dress extremely immodestly. I have heard them say, "I don't care what people think!" They display their wares for all to lust after, not caring that they are doing so, and even encouraging it.

People smoke dope openly. Many of us hate dope, but potheads don't care what people think! Even those who despise cigarette smoke see nothing wrong with the devil's weed. People think irrationally, but they don't care what people think!

Then, we move into the area of what God wills. People do what is right in their own mind, and they don't care what God thinks. When they finally "apply" for heaven on bended knee, their viewpoint will change. Their in-your-face lifestyle will be shown vividly to them. They indeed will suddenly care what God thinks!

My own viewpoint on what people look like seems petty. I do think it's silly with all the new fads, but truthfully, it is not what I think that matters. I may have, with my prejudices, prevented you from getting a good job, but that's not what really matters. It is what God thinks because we are told to do God's will. Does God care what his people look like? He is impressed by the humility of sack cloth, camelhair, and ashes. Why so? All these represent meekness. They are placing little importance on the body. God covered the immodesty of Adam and Eve. He cared that they be modest.
Leviticus 19:27 "You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. 28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord."
God said this. He cares about your hair and skin. Why? In discussing the things the pagans do (Deuteronomy 12), God said:
Deuteronomy 12:8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today (pagan practices) —every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes."
Cuttings, piercings, and tattoos are what pagans do. Their tribalism is announced by their mutations of the body. It is them and their tribe which is important. They appease their god by marking themselves as his! (Not intentionally but without considering it).

Actually, God doesn't care what's on the outside:
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Many people think that Christian liberty is the freedom to do what is right in their own eyes. Scripture here indicates that what is on the outside doesn't matter. They seem to be right!

However.... and there is usually a however:  What is on the outside is a reflection of what is on the inside. Of course, there are no piercings or cuttings on the inside, but perhaps there should be! (More on that shortly.) For those who have cuttings, piercings, tattoos, weird hair styles, near-gone bikinis, etc., it is important to them. It appears that they do care what others think, because they dress/behave/decorate to make an impression on others. Those who don't care what other people think, are "alternate" to influence what others think! It may be to impress, repulse, anger, model, make a statement, attract, or whatever, but they indeed do care what others think! They deceive even themselves.

I believe that all these fashion statements are mostly because people do care what others think, and to the extreme. I am speaking in general but of course most of those would say, "That's not why I do those things!" Again, they delude themselves!

God gave standards for appearance. Some of them are in the passage above. There are more in the New Testament because God still cares! He cares how you appear to the world, and to Him. He cares that you might make-out Christianity to be pagan in nature, but mostly He cares what is on the inside. In fact, he tells you what to do - you need to cut yourself on the inside, not the outside!
Romans 2:28 "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
Christians are to circumcise their hearts. The priest doesn't do this; they do. How is it accomplished? By presenting oneself a living sacrifice!
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."
God thinks it reasonable that you sacrifice yourself - your desires, your behavior, your lifestyle, and what's important to you. That is your living sacrifice, and circumcision of the heart. It's okay to cut off that old flesh inside and become a new creation. The old creature is marked on the outside with things the pagans do. Christians are no longer pagans, so our desire is to change, if we care what God thinks!

Why does God have such "silly" rules? He knows that we are our other gods besides Him, and he is jealous (Exodus 20:5). He is jealous of us! Rather than bring Him our gold, frankincense, and myrrh; representing His kingship, life, and death; we decorate our more important god by tattooing, cutting, piercing, dressing up or down, wearing silly hair, and behaving wrongly in defiance of God. It's not that he cares about our appearance but what drives us to appear that way! It's the pagan god Baal who appears to be the one people choose to please.

Early on, when I became a Christian, I quit doing the things pagans do. I quit filthy talk, cursing, and the outward things. Ceasing to do those things were not sacramental, but to please God. I cared what God thought, and he wanted me to change! It was easy to change the outward things but they were a refection of what was on the inside. I cared what God thought, and I did not want to be a stumbling block to others.

It is for certain, it's so much easier to change what is on the outside than on the inside, and if one isn't willing to change the former, are they truly changing the latter? Of course, we can't change what is already done, but we can change what is on the inside. That is our reasonable service to God. We cease to desire what we desired before.  That's why we should care what people think, and Jesus is a person too! We should care to do God's will, decorate Him royally, and cease presenting ourselves to the world something we are not - as gods!

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