Sabbatical reflection 3: I need to be a God-pleaser not a people-pleaser. The more I please God and don’t offend Him the more I will be able to love people as I ought to even if it at times offends them. If I live as a people-pleaser I will spend all of my life trying to contort myself and what I do into hundreds of different shapes instead of sticking to the one vision and shape of ministry that God has laid out in the bible.
The Bible commands us to love people and only please our neighbor for their good and to build them up (Roman s 15: 2 – and that would be defined by the bible). But the bible doesn’t call us to be people-pleasers, that is people who do anything people want just to make them happy. Sometimes what will build them up, be good for them and show love for them will not be pleasing to them but will be the right thing to do. The bible also commands us to love God and live in such a way as to please Him. Jesus lived to please Him (John 8: 29). And our lives should like Christ be geared to loving and pleasing God in all things (1 Corinthians 7: 32; 2 Corinthians 5: 9).
And the point of this reflection is instead of focusing on pleasing people let’s focus on pleasing God and then God is pleased and people get the love they need from us whether pleased or not.
Now there is more that need to be said than that but I think that is the key principle. The bonus is as we grow in being God-pleasers and not people-pleasers we also don’t get our lives all knotted up in the emotional roller coaster ride of being a people-pleaser which is probably at the heart of most of our stress in life!
The struggle with this will be that most people want to be pleased all the time and many of us in our weakness can’t help but enable them (in fact many of us just give up trying to fight this battle). So pursuing the life of not being a people-pleaser will initially be really tough but ultimately produces great joy and peace and relieve us of much stress.