We live in a world and in a time when perception is everything. Reputations can be destroyed and lives ruined by a word. Rumour, gossip and hearsay are the enemies of truth. It is not enough to have integrity; you must wear it on your sleeve for all to see.
Sadly, the kind of integrity that the world values is not always the Biblical variety. People urge one another to ‘be kind’, but that really means that we should comply with the prevailing view. You are deemed unkind if you hold to principles which are unpalatable to even one other person.
How, then, can you please such a world? It’s impossible to do and say what will keep everyone happy, and still remain true to yourself. So, you must step back and measure your belief against the one true plumb-line: Christ.
In Luke 9, he asks Peter that well-known question, which he is also putting to you and to me.
Who do you say that I am?
If our answer is the same as the disciple’s, then we have to be prepared to take up our cross. That will, most likely, mean being hated for his sake, and being misunderstood. I have noticed that it is the first thing people point out in criticism of me: ‘what kind of Christian does ___?’
Never mind what they call you; forget what they say. Ignore their barbs. You have answered the Saviour’s question, and you store up in your heart all the promises that go with the name of Christ.
Think of this, if you put the same question to him, what would he answer? Ask Jesus, ‘who do you say that I am?’ If your identity is in him, then his reply is the only one that matters.