An innate part of being a Christian is caring about what people think of you.
As part of being Christians one strives to reflect Christ in their life, make wise Godly choices, and treat people with love and respect. These are all good things, but the relational nature of them, and of the Christian faith as a whole means that they cannot be done independently of the opinions of others. We cannot just behave in a way that we feel is loving and respectful and not care if the rest of the population agrees with us. Our success at acting in a respecting manner is determined by how those we act around perceive our actions. Whether or not my actions were God glorifying and/or loving of those around me is not decided by how I feel about my actions, but what those witnessing those actions think.
I have always felt that it is good to not care what other people think about you, but I am coming to realise that it is important, and necessary. If I want to reflect Christ in my life, I need to behave in a way that not only I feel is loving and respectful, but also that others think is loving and respectful. So I must consider what those around me think of my actions, my intentions, and attitudes. What they think of me.
This is one of things that weighs me down the most as a Christian. I am happy to love and serve others, and to shape my actions around the ideals of love, respect and service of others, but having to consider how others want to me behave to see those things in my actions annoys me.
I have one friend, a leader in a certain Christian circle, who is always throwing the “is that the loving thing to do” line in my face. Making me do things that I don’t really want to do, or care about. I wouldn’t care if no one did them for me, but I can’t deny that other people think they are important, so they would feel loved if I did it, and most of the time I’m not doing anything important with that time otherwise. Drives me mad.
This is not to say that what other people think about you is the most important factor, and that we should shape ourselves entirely on the opinions of others. There is still the vane, image obsessed thoughts that can be involved, and are what first comes to my mind when thinking about this idea. I worked for years to not care about whether people like how I dress, looked, acted and am. And I will continue to try and not let those thoughts get all up in my headspace. The difference is in the direction. I will hold to not considering (too much) whether people like me, but I will consider if people think I love and respect them.