How Did Jesus Handle Favourable Public Opinion?

Jesus did not entrust Himself to the people.

In a previous post, we reasoned that you should not live your life by the dictates of public opinion. Frustration will be inevitable if you let your decisions in life be driven by opinions of the public rather than your life’s purpose.

It does not mean that public opinion will not favour you at times. But you should still embrace it with caution if it happens to go in your favour at any point in time.

You cannot afford to ride comfortably on the tide of public opinion for too long. You can learn that lesson from the example of Jesus Christ.

During His life and ministry on Earth, Jesus faced a lot of persecutions from both the religious leaders of His day and sometimes from members of the public. At various times, He saw Himself at the receiving end of negative criticisms.

But He had it good on some occasions too. For instance, at the celebration of Passover in Jerusalem at one time, Jesus performed many wonderful miracles. As a result, many people in that city came to believe in Him (as the Messiah). In other words, public opinion at that point in time was fully in His favour.

But how did Jesus handle the favourable public opinion?

  • He lingered more than necessary in Jerusalem to enjoy the favourable public opinion? No!
  • He commended the people for speaking good of Him? No!
  • He rode on the tide of the favourable public opinion to promote Himself and His ministry? No!
  • He began to base His ministry’s decisions on favourable public opinions? No!
  • He was completely carried away so much so that He miss-stepped in His missions? No!
  • Did He need or use the favourable public opinion to massage His ego? No!
  • Did he consent to the people to make Him king prematurely? No.

Jesus knew His true identity and so did not require public opinion to validate it. He was too “purpose driven” to be influenced by the vagaries of the opinions of the teeming crowd.

The Gospel of John tells us clearly how Jesus handled​ public opinion:

But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. John 2:24-25.

Do you get the picture now? Even when public opinion was favourable to Him, Jesus did not entrust Himself to the people. Simply put, He did not reckon with public opinion. He remained who He was even in the face of His rising public acceptance in Jerusalem at that point in time.

As you can see, Jesus did not allow public opinion to direct His life. He remained focused. That’s a big lesson for you and I to learn from.

You should not let favourable opinions about you get into your head. If you do, you might be carried away with pride more than you can handle. And if you relish positive public opinion so much, negative public opinion (which are inevitable) will definitely hurt you.

Unlike Jesus, you do not even know people in and out so you cannot always be sure of their intentions. Besides, it does not mean that the crowd that gives you a favourable rating today will not turn against you in future.

Just like they did to Jesus, those who praise you today will be there to ‘crucify’ you tommorrow.

Jesus did not entrust Himself to the crowd, neither should you. Let your trust be in God only, because Psalms 118:8 tells us, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.”

Have you ever been faced with a favourable public opinion? How did you handle it?

© Copyright 2017 | Victor Uyanwanne

 

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Should You Always Reckon With Public Opinion?

Public pulse, what people say about you

Public opinion might be a very powerful force but you should not let it shape who you are or what you become in life. In other words, you should live your life independent of public opinion.

You will experience avoidable levels of frustration if you always rely on public opinion to run your life.

I read of a Chinese proverb which says that a wise man makes his own decisions whereas an ignorant man follows public opinion. You have the right to agree or disagree with that statement but I believe there is a point in those words.

There will always be public opinion. But the choice is yours whether or not to follow it.

People will talk about you no matter what you do. So make sure you do the right things so that you will not have cause to be ashamed of yourself later.

Remember the saying “Vox populi, vox Dei” (The voice of the people is the voice of God).  Have you ever given a serious thought to that maxim? Or have you believed it completely simply because it is a popular saying?

Take another look at that philosophy and you will see that it cannot always be correct. The voice of the people most times is not the voice of God. So why let your life be guided by public opinion?

As you probably know, public opinion is not always correct. Much of what constitutes public opinion is born either out of the ignorance of the majority of the public or the deliberate acts of misinformation orchestrated by the people that have the power or the means to do so.

There are people that control or influence public opinion. If you are not one of such people, be sure that public opinion will not always be in your overall best interest.

You will be ruining your life if you completely pattern it after the opinions of the public. That is not to say that there is no time you can learn something from feeling the public pulse. But be sure to know where and when to draw the line.

Public opinion changes frequently. And you can not even change as fast as it does, so why fall for it?

How then should you handle public opinion?

If you know you are in the right just continue being right. Don’t shift ground to the wrong side on the strength of public opinion.

Public opinion may count but doing the right thing should count more for you.

Pursue your purpose in life and firmly resist the temptation to have sleepless nights over what people say about you. Those who live by purpose will not follow public opinion, neither will they be bothered by it. Be one of such people!

Even when public opinion favours you, as it sometimes will, you still have need to ride on its’ tide very carefully, so that you do not get drown by any means.

Those who praise you today will turn against you tomorrow. Thread cautiously.  Whatever you do, do not let public opinion control how you live your life.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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