People Pleasing

In Galatians 1:10 Paul says, “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.”

Before this verse Paul gave the Galatians an earful for letting the Judaizers corrupt the gospel of Christ.  In this verse Paul points out that he has told them the truth because he cares about pleasing God and not people.  Truth telling is ultimately about pleasing God.  Paul is not interested in being just a “people pleaser.”  Our life’s goal, and definitely our faith, is not about keeping everyone happy.

“People Pleasers” are not to be admired in the Kingdom of God and Paul points that out.  I have heard this label of “people pleaser” a lot in the past few years.  It refers to those who live their lives with the goal of keeping everyone happy to the detriment of their own happiness and in some cases in disregard of doing the right thing.  “People pleasers” value peace and fake smiles in their relationships over honesty and integrity grounded in God’s truth.  Paul is definitely not a “people pleaser” and he is proud of it.

But the opposite of being a people pleaser is not being selfish or mean-spirited.  For Paul, telling his friends the truth is motivated by his desire to please God in love for his brothers.  I do want to mention the difference between telling the “truth in love” and being an angry bastion of the truth.  Truth has almost become a bad word to some, not just because our postmodern culture wants to do away with it as a real category, but because some angry Christians use truth like a weapon.  Ouch!  Using truth without love hurts and if you are on the receiving end of a truth attack you know what I’m talking about.  That’s hurtful to the church and to the Lord.

Paul reminds us to be people who have the goal of serving Christ.  Paul says that it is impossible to be a “people pleaser” and still be a servant of Christ.  Remember, Christ served others with love and patience and so should we.  I love Jesus, don’t you?

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