People Pleasing Doesn’t Equal Love

Last week, I shared three ideas with our staff on leadership in the church.  Over the next few days, I thought I’d share them on here as well.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

People Pleasing Does Not Equal Love

In the last post, we looked at recruiting people into all sorts of different roles.  Part of that challenge is to get past our desire to serve people and see them be happy.  That raises it’s head even bigger in this issue.

So many of us develop a fear that if someone rejects a program, an idea, our congregation, or even us, then they are rejecting Jesus.  Our next thought, often unspoken, is that if our actions lead them to reject Jesus, then Jesus will be upset with us, and have to fix the mess we’ve made.  Therefore, I need to do everything in my power to be sure than people never reject anything I do, or anything that is done at any level in my ministry.

That’s just ugly.

When we try to keep everyone happy, we’ve fallen into pleasing people.  It won’t be long till we have to quit listening to Jesus somewhere in our ministry, in order to keep people happy.  At this point, we have come full circle, to where we actively ignore Jesus so that He won’t be disappointed in us for upsetting people.  Yep, its that confusing, and that screwed up.

Let’s take the whole theory apart.  If someone rejects Jesus, that is between them and Him, not them, us, and Him.  He doesn’t hold us accountable for their decision.  Secondly, rejecting your idea to paint the 3 year olds room is NOT the same as rejecting Jesus.  Someone leaving your church because they want “deep teaching” and the church across town is doing a series on Revelation is NOT the same as rejecting Jesus.  Having that mom tell you her kid will not be coming back to youth group because she doesn’t want her wholesome son around “those” kids in your ministry is NOT the same as her or her kid rejecting Jesus.  That fear is a lie.  It has much, much more with our own insecurities and our personal need to be liked than it does with any need Jesus has to be liked.  Honestly, it’s sinful.

So, when we make decisions, and tell ourselves that by letting that person go, by giving in, by letting them hold the church or ministry or you hostage emotionally, that we are “loving them” and “modeling a servant’s heart”, we need to stop and really examine it.  Are we really doing that because it’s best for the other person and for the church, or because we just can’t handle being rejected and thought of as a failure one more time?

The fear that drives a people pleasing lifestyle is not a servant’s heart.  It is not love.  It is simply a fear.  Fear like that doesn’t come from God.  Love the person, serve them by speaking the truth, and calling them to grow and become more like Christ.  Too often, we try to pick up Jesus and go to where the person is.  They need to get up and move towards Jesus.

This week, understand that pleasing people does not, in any way shape or form, equal love.  Love is honest, truthful, faithful, obedient, wants the best for others, and points everyone to move towards Jesus.

Is there someone you feel a fearful desire to keep happy?  What is Jesus calling you to instead?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.