May 26-27, 2012
Who doesn’t want to see their kids happy, especially when we are the ones with the awesome roles of bringing them delight? I love to please my daughters, but I also want to see them safe and healthy. So, when they make unhealthy or dysfunctional requests, it is easy for me to say “NO!” And I can stand by that “NO” even though they aren’t pleased, are upset, or even, no not that, crying because of my answer. Sometimes they might even resort to “I hate you,” “I’m running away,” or the most fear-inducing response, “I’m going to kill myself.”
Don’t believe it can be easy to say no? What about when they ask … for their third bowl of ice cream … for the keys to the car when they are 13 … to stay out until midnight on a school night when they are 14 … to camp out with a boyfriend, alone, when they are 16. All these will easily get a “no” answer from me regardless of how displeased my beloved daughters are or what trump cards they play in an effort to alter my hand.
We seem to have a bit more trouble when fellow adults make dysfunctional requests. For most of us, it is harder to say “no”. Whether we think they know more than we do about the particular situation … or they know what’s best for themselves more than we do … or we fear being uneasy when people are mad or upset at us … or we fear their rejection … or we need their approval … or we need to be needed or accepted. Wow, that was a lot of “I need…” or “I fear…” lenses, based on a me-centered mentality. These lenses will significantly interfere with our perspective, and lead to disrespectful, dysfunctional, or even sinful relational decisions and interactions. When we focus on trying to please people by acting dysfunctionally, we are not serving God. If we are truly His servants, then our primary goal will be to please Him first, not others.
When Jesus lived on earth, many people who believed in Him would not admit their faith. Because they were more concerned about personal safety and other people’s opinions rather than God’s opinion, they did not live out their faith. Likewise, when we live as people-pleasers, we are demonstrating the fact that we are more concerned about people’s approval instead of God’s. That we are getting our confidence from other’s opinions and needs and instructions for us, and not God’s opinion and instructions for us. Therefore, our walk with Him will always be hindered when we exalt anyone or anything above God to guide and support our life’s direction and decisions.
Today, ask yourself: What is my greatest perceived need or greatest perceived threat when someone makes a request of me … or when I feel the need to people-please in a relationship? Notice I used the word perceived, because that fear or need really isn’t actually our greatest, it is only what we perceive to be our greatest need/fear. Displeasing God and being out of His will should be our greatest threat. And our greatest need is to draw closer to Him, obey and respond to Him in full faith and dedication. So whom am I trying to please … God or other people? Maybe most of your life is lived to please God, but there is still some situation or some person that sparks you to be a people-pleaser. God wants us to put Him first in all things. We cannot please Him by placing more importance on people’s opinions or our needs over His. Your Greatest Perceived Need and Threat is your rudder when you make decisions, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I do want to please You. Forgive me for the times I let my desire to be accepted by some person outweigh my desire to please You. Thank You for Your love and for accepting me unconditionally. Help me to be a better servant, doing the right thing, not the people-pleasing thing, as I grow healthy relationships with others. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who was the perfect servant, whose greatest perceived need was pleasing you in all things, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people? If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43