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That slippery slope of people-pleasing

No one likes an imposter. Someone who says one thing and does another. We value authenticity. Being able to believe that the way a person acts and speaks is who they really are, not just a show. We appreciate being able to trust others in this way.

And I would assume others would value this in us as well.

But, have you ever found yourself acting different for other groups of people than with others? Sure, there is a time for business-self and casual-self; that’s not what we’re discussing here. I’m talking about swaying your stance on things just to please the people who you are with. It may lead to temporary smooth waters, but what ripple effect could we be causing?

Peter was up against this when it came to the believers in Antioch. Paul saw it and called him out on it:

But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.  For prior to the coming of some men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:11-13 (ESV)

Peter knew in his heart that there was nothing wrong with eating with fellow believers that were not originally from the Jewish faith. He knew, because of Jesus, that there was no longer a difference between a Greek or Jew. Both could claim the redemptive power of Jesus’ blood as their own, and they were all part of the family of God. Peter knew that, but it was kinda hard to keep living that out when his old buddies came to town.
And when he let their convictions sway him, it caused others, who were looking at his example, to follow suit. Maybe Peter was just trying to find a way to be comfortable and not upset his friends, but it caused many others to question their own convictions and be led astray.

This isn’t an example of refraining from something in respect of another. Like, choosing to not have that glass of wine at dinner when you know your friend struggles with alcohol. Instead, it’s about changing our actions to please people. 

Where have we compromised what we knew to be true in order to get people to like us? Where are all my people-pleasers at?!

As we seek to build intentional relationships, let’s be aware of what we are saying or doing that is motivated by pleasing people. It’s one thing to be considerate and kind (we all need more of that!) and a whole different thing to change who the Spirit has made us in order to make others happy.
For am I now seeking the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10
This week, let’s take an honest look at ourselves. Go before God with this prayer to want to seek God’s approval above human’s. And then having the courage to change, even if it’s uncomfortable or hard.

When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 
Proverbs 16:7 (ESV)

8 thoughts on “That slippery slope of people-pleasing”

  1. It is such valuable advice to pay attention to our motivations that can cause us to focus on pleasing others. For me, this frequent desire is rooted in a fear of rejection mixed with a good does of perfectionism. Thanks for this post.

    1. I find my fear rooted in very similar ground. That desire to be perfect and being afraid of rejection if I’m not good enough tugs at me quote often.

    1. Just like, at times, I don’t think I’m doing something out of the motivation of people pleasing and them *boom* there it is…. 🙂

  2. As a reformed people pleaser, I SO appreciate this post! Thank you for the reminder and encouragement!

  3. I struggle with people pleasing but have made great strides. Your post was helpful. Thank you. Maree

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