It’s easy to seek out the approval of others. We’re wired for it. It’s something we crave on a deep level. The feeling of acceptance and belonging are wired into who are so deeply that there is even a psychological phenomenon called groupthink. In it, people who are so caught up in being a part of the crowd and being included in something will do things against their own moral code/convictions just to continue being part. We all struggle with approval in some way or form, so what do we do when we find ourselves tempted to give in?
Approval isn’t always bad.
Paul told the churches to live peaceful and quiet lives. He didn’t want the church to stick out like a sore thumb simply for the sake of sticking out. Live normal lives, Paul told the churches, don’t cause problems. (1 Thess 4:11).
We are not to be like the world. And simply trying to follow Jesus, love him, each other, and those around us is already going to make us stick out like crazy. There is no need to go above and beyond to look different simply so you can be even more different.
Be friends with people. Don’t be weird and strange just so they don’t approve. It’s okay to want to be friends and want to be liked and be in a relationship with the people in our lives. The line has to be drawn, though, when that approval gets in the way of us being who God has called us to be and doing the things he has given us to do. I will invite over neighbors and be kind in hopes that they love me. I will not try to impress with purchases, a fake life, and deny who God’s made me to be. Approval isn’t bad. Approval at the price of our integrity is always bad.