A friend asks, “Do I look fat in this dress?”
“No, we answer, you look very pretty.”
“We do not want to be the truth teller when it’s uncomfortable. We have the deadly disease of people pleasing.”
It happens all the time. We lie. Our friend looks like the broad side of a barn, yet we let her wear the dress out in public. Why? We can’t stand the uncomfortable feeling of not being liked or understood. We do not want to be the truth teller when it’s uncomfortable. We have the deadly disease of people pleasing.
Is deadly too strong a word? No, it is not. When people say both proudly and sheepishly, “It’s hard for me to speak up, I’m a people pleaser.”
“When we tell people what they want to hear, we are building our own little kingdom where everyone worships us, not God.”
I say, “People pleasers ultimately love themselves, not others.” If we are people pleasers, we are not serving God. We are trying to do the impossible…make everyone happy so we can be happy. It is a self sin that benefits us, makes us liars, and makes us not like people at all. When we tell people what they want to hear, we are building our own little kingdom where everyone worships us, not God. The problem with this little house of cards is that we will say “yes” when we want to say “no” and then boil with anger inside. Then, after we do what we don’t want to and no one notices or pats us on the back, our temperature goes up a few degrees.
Our delusional world will then carry us to the, “I work harder than everyone else and all the people around me are lazy and unappreciative. ‘Karen’ over there put forth five minutes of effort and everyone told her she was wonderful. I have slaved every day and no one notices. I’m so sick of these people.”
Or someone says something that makes us angry and we smile and say we are fine. Instead of addressing it boldly and kindly, we swallow that bitter seed. It may start small, but a bitter tree starts to grow. The roots grow deep inside our souls and everyone is affected. A bitter tree produces bitter fruit. People eat what we produce.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
“If people’s approval is what we live for, we will flatter them so they will flatter us.”
If people’s approval is what we crave, we will never have enough of it. Every human being is an abyss of neediness. The whole world shoved into our soul would not abate the intense craving we have. If people’s approval is what we live for, we will flatter them so they will flatter us.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
“We cannot serve God and people. We have to choose. If we choose to serve God and obey Him, we will serve people the right way.”
We cannot serve God and people. We have to choose. If we choose to serve God and obey Him, we will serve people the right way. We will love them enough to tell them the truth. We will be willing to pay a short term price for their long term good. We will take them aside and tell them what we see in their lives that is destroying them. Why? Because we love them intensely with the love of God.
There are humans that tell the truth who don’t love God. They are usually brazen and out-spoken. I am not talking about a person like that. They speak truth from a self-righteous place of wanting to look and be superior to others. That is evil.
I’m speaking of the wonderful love of God that makes us hurt as we see someone destroying themselves and are blind-sided by their own weaknesses. The love of God will take us to our prayer closets and beg God to prepare them as we speak to them about what is obvious to everyone but them.
That is true love. Only the man or woman that loves God can do this. There is a price to be paid. Jesus lived this way every minute of His life. Sometimes He was praised, sometimes He was hated. It made no difference. He still loved everyone because His love was from heaven. His love was real and not self-seeking.
There is a reason Jesus plainly said,
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”
A disciple is a follower. One who gives full loyalty and support to another. If we want the praise that belongs to the only praise worthy One, we will tell people what they want to hear. We aren’t strong enough to do otherwise. We can’t take that kind of heat.
“If we aren’t drawing from the life of God and pouring it out to others, we are drawing from our own “niceness” and it is totally fake.”
Funny thing is, if we do tell the truth, we will gain more favor in the end. If we flatter, we will get lots of “disciples” that suck the life out of us and we will hate them. If we aren’t drawing from the life of God and pouring it out to others, we are drawing from our own “niceness” and it is totally fake.
“Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.”
“We have to be willing to pay the price of being thought unkind or even cruel in the beginning, so God can do a great work.”
“In the end.” We have to be willing to pay the price of being thought unkind or even cruel in the beginning, so God can do a great work. In the end (that could take years), we will have true favor with that person. We will have laid down our lives for them. Even if we never have their favor, it’s not our problem. We have done what God would have us do.
It’s so easy to tell people what they want to hear. It costs us nothing, but it rots our souls. We call it “people pleasing.” God calls it self-love.
“Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”
“Human praise gives us what we want, immediate gratification. It’s a deadly and intoxicating drug. No one is immune.”
If we think this isn’t serious, read that scripture again. The Pharisees believed in Jesus but loved human praise more than God’s praise! Human praise gives us what we want, immediate gratification. It’s a deadly and intoxicating drug. No one is immune (I wish there was a vaccination for it)!
I used to be one of these people. Anyone who has come to me for advice over the last twenty years or so would tell you God has largely cured me of this disease. His love has sliced through the lies of my own heart and shown me how depraved I am in my own nature. I can’t put into words how much that truth set me free. I long to help others see this truth about themselves so they can also stop being “fake nice.” It’s miserable.