There is a stupid disease that has never been diagnosed properly in many believers – the disease to please. This is the disease that causes us to do things that we really don’t want to do or that we know are not good for us – but we do them because we want to fit in and be one of the crowd, one of those considered “in,” “cool,” “with it.”
There is a basic human need to belong and to fit in. But this can take us places we do should not go if we are not careful and if we hang around the wrong people. Many teens first experiment with alcohol, drugs, and premarital sex in their teens just to feel normal, to feel that they belong. This happens to those who do not have a strong personal identity and/or a positively focused group to belong to.
Unfortunately, wanting to please our peers and doing whatever it takes to fit in does not end in our teens. We all want to feel like we are part of the right group – whoever we identify with or, more likely, want to be identified with. It is human nature to want to find our tribe, and be recognized by them. The problem – the disease – arises, however, when we are willing to compromise in two vital areas: (1) our relationship with God and (2) our relationship with ourselves.
These two are connected. We cannot really know ourselves – the real you – until you know the God who created you in His image. Who you are deep inside – the real you – is deeply connected to who God is. You only find yourself when you discover who you are in Christ. You only avoid the disease to please and remain healthy when you are in touch with your true inner being – the “you” God made you to be. This must be discovered and embraced to be healthy and whole and avoid this disease to please. And, it can only be discovered as you relate to the God that made you in His image.
When we fail to find ourselves and have a healthy self-image we tend to run with the crowd and thus compromise ourselves. We lose something very precious in this illusion we accept as reality: respect for ourselves and consistency of character. If we repeatedly choose to act in ways that contradict our beliefs and values, we undermine our own authenticity and integrity. Or as Paul expresses it in his letter to the Romans, “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.” (7:13 The Message). We end up compartmentalizing fragments of our lives and then wondering why we don’t feel whole.
It is time to defeat the disease to please syndrome.