As a Christian person, am I too well-liked?
After all, does not Christ warn us in the Gospels against “all men speaking well” of us?
Now, to be sure, not “all men” have “always” spoken well of me. However, I can say that I’m pretty sure that I have no mortal enemies or even less than mortal ones.
I am actually a person who is generally quite well-liked in my immediate community and outside of it where I have interacted.
In fact, I try, without compromising my principles, to be a well-liked person. I ma, indeed, in no way a “people-pleaser”, but I do try to treat others with respect, gentleness, etc., even when discussing and/or living out my beliefs. I have indeed found that this goes over well and does tend to allow people to “like” me in virtually every circumstance, even if they do not agree with my Christian beliefs/principles.
Admittedly, I’m not the kind of person to “throw my faith in people’s faces”, but, if it comes up naturally in conversation, I am very glad to share my beliefs and even the reasons for them, yet, at the same time, I am very considerate about doing so, often choosing my words carefully, especially if I know the other person disagrees and especially if I know they vehemently disagree. I am indeed very considerate to their own beliefs, especially if I think they are coming from a good place. I don’t try to “force anything down their throats”, as it were, but I do try to explain with great respect where I come from.
Again, I have found that this approach wins me many friends and very few if any enemies.
I am generally very much a “people person” (INFJ personality type), very empath(et)ic and love to form very close relationships with people. This is not only to be a good witness but also for their own sake, for my enjoyment and for the enjoyment/edification of the other person(s). So, I do admit, I care very much whether other people “like me”, but, again, not so much so that I would compromise my principles. Indeed, I care that people “like me” also because of the kind of witness it could provide to them through my relationship with them and also through my example to them. Indeed, I enjoy forming relationships with people based on common interests and also for our mutual benefit. I want others to enjoy my presence in their lives as much as I enjoy theirs. Is there, indeed, anything wrong with this?
One thing I wonder about in particular, though, is my shyness about confrontation when I see either a minor or a more major sin being committed by someone else because I don’t want them to “stop liking” me. This is especially the case if I don’t know a person well or even very well at all. I am hesitant to confront the person when I see them doing wrong because I fear it might close off any future opportunity (if one might exist) for positive interaction both in terms of witness and general relationship. I don’t want to be seen as “pushy” or as “interfering” in their lives, particularly as a person who does not know them well enough. And, when I do confront on matters of sin, I am still very careful about the way I come across to them; while I state my beliefs and the reasons for them as well as my concern for their welfare, I am also often very gentle about it and very sensitive to how they are going to react. (My general sensitivity to the emotions of others is very helpful in this regard.) Again, approaching someone with this kind of respect can often further the conversation more effectively than a more severe approach.
I don’t know, perhaps it is the people with whom I generally choose to surround myself. Yet, it does cause me some trepidation as well, considering Christ’s warning about “all men speaking well” of us.
Now, if I feel that someone is very much coming from an intentionally malicious place in their sin, I will sometimes be quite direct and even stinging in my rebuke. This often comes from both a place of indignation about the sin committed and sometimes a feeling of extreme care for their welfare, especially if they are a friend of mine. This latter I will very often state along with my rebuke. Still, very much of all this is quite case-dependent.
So, am I doing something wrong in the approaches I’ve elucidated above? Should more people speak ill of, dislike and even hate me, if I truly am being a good Christian? Should I being doing something I’m not doing to make this the case? Should I not be doing something?
Am I acting in an appropriately Christian way in what I have described above? Or, rather, should I be far more harsh/confrontation/etc. or maybe even something else in the way I interact with people so that more people speak ill of/dislike/hate me? AFter all, did they not first hate Christ who was indeed very confrontational, at least with the Pharisees?