Thoroughly baby-boomerish, I was raised with Beaver Clever in the 50s, and also with the myriad flower-children of the 60s. I never quite lived up to the aspirations of either, though I favored the flower children. You can be sure I wrestled with the restraints of the age.
However, even in my selfish bent, I simultaneously cared about what people thought of me, and didn't care what they thought of me. What an insidious form of schizophrenia! But when at last the Lord got ahold of me, my rebellious bent took a sharp nosedive. It rears it's ugly head still, but it no longer harbors the enchantment or power it once did.
Along the course of my journey as a believer, I have often encountered that same thin line between self-serving and others-serving. It blurs in places; and I find that I can justify just about anything - - and this in the name of God; and with scripture to back me up. Is there any mystery to why the world-at-large has a field-day with Christian notions? Is it any wonder that I can, at times, survey the lump on my skull as administered by a thoroughly confounded other, and consider it persecution when, in fact, I had it coming?
Why is it so vitally important what people make of us? Are we people-pleasing to even seek it? What is the linkage between what we say or do with our character? The answer (from Titus 2) lies in the so ...
... teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine
... Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
... teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
... urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands
so that no one will malign the word of God.
... encourage the young men to be self-controlled.
... set them an example by doing what is good.
... show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned
so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us
...Teach slaves (indentured servants/employees) to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted
so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
So, it's why we do what we do. Never has there been a day in history when it - so - matters so very much!