Problems with People Pleasing Part 2

Last Tuesday’s article was about Problems with People Pleasing. Today we pick up where we left off with this question:

What is the difference between being a people-pleaser and being a sacrificial servant of Christ?

First of all, on the outside, those two people may look exactly the same. Their actions and behavior might appear identical. They both wear themselves out for others. Think of the apostle Paul, he was truly a sacrificial servant of Christ, not a people-pleaser. He did, however, wear himself out for others.

I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? (2 Corinthians 12:15)

Paul was not a people-pleaser, but because he loved Jesus Christ, he was  a sacrificial servant for others. There is a profound difference.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Furthermore, being a people pleaser is ultimately all about you.

You don’t want conflict. You don’t want negative emotions. When your motivation is about people liking you and not being disappointed in you, the focus is you. Refusing to say “No” is about you. Maintaining that illusion of harmony is self-centered, not God-centered. Being a people-pleaser is about craving acceptance and approval from people, not about being secure in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43)

What we get down to is motive and heart.

  • Why am I doing _______ or committing to __________?
  • Why am I sacrificing time, energy, and resources for this?
  • Am I seeking people’s approval or God’s approval?
  • Am I serving out of guilt, doing “penance” for my past mistakes? Or am I serving others out of a gratefulness to God?
  • Why am I uncomfortable with others’ negative emotions around me?

Think about it. Are you “complete in Him,” (Colossians 2:9-10), or are you complete in having people like you?

We will discuss this more next Tuesday and the implications it has for marriage.