We were taking about the disease to please. Pleasing people is a major issue in the life and ministry of the believer and can be devastating to the spiritual life of every individual. Why? Because pleasing people is more of a spiritual problem than a relational or boundary issue. When you are far more concerned with what people think than with what God thinks – you have a spiritual problem and not just a relational one.
People pleasing is actually a form of addiction. Just as a drug addict seeks drugs, people pleasers seek approval. There are four basic symptoms that appear in a person’s life if they are coming down with this disease:
- A tendency to take criticism personally
- A constant fear of rejection from those around them
- Difficulty expressing their true feelings
- Reluctance to say no even when it is clear that they should
Any of these sound familiar to you? You see, most of us wrestle with an occasional bout of the disease to please. Ironically, we often fail to see that whenever we compromise ourselves to please others, we tend to lose their respect. If people know you will do whatever it takes to placate them, make them happy, or avoid conflict, many if not most will exploit this as a weakness. When it is clear that we have a commitment to God that comes before anything else in our lives, most people will respect us even if they don’t share our faith.
To grow out of this dangerous disease, we have got to understand that people pleasing is more of a spiritual problem than a relational one. Though most people would try to accept the need to please others as a normal part of life, we have to embrace that people pleasing is a form of idolatry. We simply need to decide to be different enough not to care what people think of who we are and how we live. Living for others’ opinions is putting people ahead of God.