How many of you struggle with an addiction to people-pleasing? You may have grown up in a household that taught you this. Pleasing mom and dad meant peace at the dinner table. Displeasure brought different levels of grief.
Folks who have a bent for people-pleasing find themselves in all kinds of trouble. For example, there is the trouble that comes from not being able to say no. Come on now, you know who you are! If you are over-committed to your family and every community and church volunteer opportunity, you are probably a people-pleaser.
Then there are the people-pleasers who can’t stand up for themselves. When others who don’t give a fig about people-pleasing encounter them, they get walked all over and used as door mats.
It is hard to be in a relationship with a people-pleaser because you never quite know where you stand. They will agree with everything you say, laugh at your lame jokes, and tell you that you look good in those jeans that add 15 lbs. of visual weight to your frame.
Beware of the people-pleasers!
In his letter to the newly formed church in Thessalonica, Paul is assuring the congregation that his efforts are completely void of any such nonsense. He states that his words to them have not been based on false information, wrong motives, or deception.
1 Thessalonians 1 (Common English Bible)
2 As you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, our visit with you wasn’t a waste of time.2 On the contrary, we had the courage through God to speak God’s good news in spite of a lot of opposition, although we had already suffered and were publicly insulted in Philippi, as you know. 3 Our appeal isn’t based on false information, the wrong motives, or deception.4 Rather, we have been examined and approved by God to be trusted with the good news, and that’s exactly how we speak.
In his work with the church, he and the other apostles have endeavored to do one thing…please God. They have been trusted by God with the good news and they only want to please him.
We aren’t trying to please people, but we are trying to please God, who continues to examine our hearts. 5 As you know, we never used flattery, and God is our witness that we didn’t have greedy motives. 6 We didn’t ask for special treatment from people—not from you or from others— 7 although we could have thrown our weight around as Christ’s apostles.
The integrity of his efforts shines through. The message of the gospel can get out because people know that Paul isn’t just telling them things they want to hear and buttering them up with flattering words. Instead, he is speaking words that convey love, hope, and TRUTH.
Instead, we were gentle with you like a nursing mother caring for her own children. 8 We were glad to share not only God’s good news with you but also our very lives because we cared for you so much.
As we make our way to the polls in America, ask yourself these questions. Does your candidate speak to please God, or to butter up voters? Is he or she operating from selfish motives, hidden agendas, and deception, or is there a sincere desire to serve the public? Are they humble or self-aggrandizing? Do they have integrity like Paul?
The ranks of leadership at every level are filled with people-pleasers. Let’s find the God-pleasers this time.