Let's face it. There are a few (maybe many) sins that we actually rationalize our way through...or so we think. I bet you can already think of a few.
Whoa! Slow down. Lest we also gloss over them just as easily as we sugar coat them, let's take a few days to talk about some of these "white sins." (You know, as in white lies?) So today, we'll begin our conversation with a little statement I posted on one of my facebook pages yesterday which met with almost viral response. (Just almost.)
"Do not be fooled: People-pleasers do not love people. They love themselves. Only God-pleasers can truly love other people."
Is People Pleasing Really All That Bad?
Sometimes when we get called on the carpet for sins such as people-pleasing (yes, I called it a sin), we are tempted to sugar coat our propensity by actually glamorizing it. We say or at least think things such as:
"Well there are worst things I could do than try to please a few people!" he, he!
"I just care immensely about how things affect others. I'm motivated by compassion." sniff, sniff
"It's better than being callous and unfeeling towards others." humph!
But the Bible states God's case against people pleasing pretty plainly:
"For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10
"but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts." 1 Thessalonians 2:4
"Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." 1 John 2:15-16
and perhaps the saddest of all...
"Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God." John 12:42-43
Jesus, words - "I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.... How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?" John 5:41-42, 44
"I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." John 5:30
Jesus sought to please the Father, and Him alone. He did not seek to please the people who crowded around Him or the ones who avoided Him. He kept his focus singular: the Father.
And because Jesus loved His Father and sought continuously to please Him, He also loved people. But He loved people enough to speak truth, to say "no," to walk away, to not bend, to be firm.
But that's Jesus, we might say. We're a whole different story. No, the truth is if we try to please people we will inevitably:
- lose credibility
- be inconsistent
- displease God
- become entangled
- hinder God's work in their lives
- confuse them
- water down the gospel
- diminish our testimony
Besides that, as 1Thessalonians 2:4 reminds us, God knows what's at the heart of our people-pleasing and, I beg your pardon, but it's not compassion and all sweetness.
At the heart of people pleasing God sees:
- the need to control
- a love of the world (not the people, but the promises)
- personal kingdom building
- lack of faith
Are you guilty of people pleasing? Have you been excusing it as compassion, love and all things good? Well I hate to tell you this, but God isn't fooled.
And quite honestly, people aren't either.
There is a good and right way to truly love people. It begins by knowing how deeply you are loved by God and then develops more fully as you love God in return.
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
Seek to love God with all your heart and soul and mind...then, with that big love pushing out all ulterior motives, turn and love the people in your life...with pure, godly love.
What sins do you tend to candy coat and excuse? Let's talk about it.
Labels: Is That Really So Bad?, Perspective, transparency