“Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). – Good News Bible Translation
Are you are man-pleaser? Someone who will please other people at all cost even to the point that it becomes a sin? While it is true that we must be pleasing to others and be of good terms, there is a thin line pleasing God and pleasing others. Which should come first; pleasing man or God?
When pleasing others becomes a sin
At the surface, there is nothing wrong when you want to win the favor of other people. In fact, this is desirable so that we can be of good terms with them. When it comes to the divine law of love, we are commanded to love other people and put their welfare above ourselves. It is an outgoing concern for other people. Part of loving others is pleasing them.
So when does pleasing others may become a sin? It is when we are more concerned of ourselves rather than loving other people. Let me explain this further.
People pleasers are more concerned of what people might think about themselves. They think that they are successful when they please other people at all cost. The ultimate goal of people pleasers is to PLEASE other people rather than loving them!
In other words, LOVING OTHERS DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUATE TO PLEASING THEM.
Let me give you a concrete example.
Married couple may easily fall into this wrong type of “pleasing”. The husband may FEAR that his wife may get mad at him, may have a quarrel, reject him, leave him, or not having sex with her. So what he does is to please her spouse at all cost to the point that he will lose his position of being the head of the family – which is actually going against the design of God. He wants to please his wife at all cost just to save his life from uncomfortable situations.
If the primary motivator of you pleasing other people – be it your friends, spouse, or relative – is FEAR, then you are not demonstrating real, true, and genuine love!
As I John 4:18 mentioned: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
But, you might argue, “I please others not because of fear of losing them. I just do not want to disappoint them”. Is that so? Well, you might think that this type of rationalizing things is harmless. When it comes to this, you should examine yourself. If the main reason that you do not want to disappoint them is all about your self, then you are a people pleaser.
Now think about this: will you want your financial adviser to be a people pleaser or your attorney for that matter, to be a people pleaser – who will only tell you what you want to hear and not what you should hear? I don’t think so.
When should we not please other people?
When we want to please other people, we must examine the motive behind our action. It is so easy to choose pleasing other people just to win some peace, enjoyment, and solitude. But this type of situation does not last long. Sooner or later, the smoke will have to come out somewhere. Though choosing the right thing to do might be uncomfortable or even frustrating at the moment, this does not give us the license to please other people rather than pleasing our Creator.
If our motive is for SELF-PRESERVATION, then we must not please other people. When you know that what you are about to do is wrong just to please your boss, classmates, spouse, friends, and people, then you are doing Satan a favor.
The danger of being a people-pleaser
You might think that pleasing other people at all cost may sound harmless; however, nothing can be farther than the truth. When you please other people even if it is against your will and the will of God, there is a chance that you will hate the one you want to please rather than loving them.
For example, your classmate wants to cheat and copy your answer during an exam. To please that classmate, you gave your paper and the teacher caught you. As this happens, you develop anger and resentment on your classmate because both of you had a low grade. Sounds familiar? This situation can take many forms in various relationships.
In the long run, the people you want to please might not see the development of bitterness and resentment in your heart, but God surely does. God sees a person who wants to please others rather than Him.
Pleasing God rather than others
It is important that we make it a TOP priority to please God rather than men. Pleasing God is mandatory. Pleasing other people is optional. Pleasing God is the supreme service we can do. Pleasing others is secondary.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
This verse means that when we please God, we will be certain that God will also make other people be pleased with our decision. Our firmness and our resolve will be a witness to them that following God is more important rather than pleasing them.
On the other hand, it is obvious that not all the times, when we choose to Please God, that other people will like us as well. But do you really want to please other people who are more concerned of doing what is wrong rather than doing what is right? It is not your loss. It’s their loss.
Here is a GENERAL RULE that you need to remember and the best litmus paper when it comes to pleasing other people:
If pleasing other people leads to sin and not honoring God, then you are a people pleaser rather than a God pleaser.
Whom do you please?
Let us be reminded of what the apostle Peter and the other apostles told the high priest while they are being investigated:
“We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
We can also rephrase this statement into “We ought to PLEASE God rather than men”.
Ultimately, we are not going to stand in front of the people whom we seek to please when we are going to give accountability of what we did in this life. We will not be explaining our actions to human beings.
We will be standing before the judgment seat of God and has to give account of our life. My sincerest hope is that we can be confident to stand before the judgment seat and joyfully tell God, “I seek to please God, rather than men”.
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