“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.”
Galatians 1:10 NIV
Always wondering what others think? That’s a life of torment. If it’s not you, you’ve seen them. They are always trying to make everyone happy. But their eagerness to please stems from their self-worth issues. They say “yes” to help them feel accepted and liked.
I know it’s not that simple. The root could be some kind of abuse, so the people-pleasing becomes a substitute for true kindness.
You say, “Following Jesus requires sacrifice, and that means loving even people who mistreat you, right?” Yes, but people pleasers tend to allow others to take advantage of them. Instead of welcoming people into their lives, they become the welcome mat that people walk over. The way of Christ is not an invitation to oppression, spiritually trafficking humans to fulfill the pleasures of people.
When Jesus Christ walked the earth, he really knew he was the Son of God. So, he did not consider his equality with God something to prove or cling to. He didn’t worry about what others thought. He didn’t agree with people to gain acceptance. He didn’t feel responsible for their troubles. He didn’t apologize for being himself. And he didn’t allow the demands of others to fill his schedule.
Though one of his best friends lay dying, he didn’t fear being misunderstood when he waited until Lazarus died to go to him. No matter the pressures of the powerful, he did not play for popularity. Though many got angry at him, he did not compromise to calm the crowd. Though he was faithful as a carpenter, a son to his mother, and a brother to his siblings, he did not fail to follow his Father’s lead. Though he received praise, he did not demand it or perform to keep it coming. And when he was hurt and disappointed with his friends, especially the night he was betrayed, he let them know.
Jesus had authentic relationships because he was authentic. Rather than avoiding conflict, Jesus spoke up. With that, he made the choice to sacrifice, serve, and live fully human. His sacrifice was costly and valuable; it was for the joy of authentic relationships. So Jesus preferred being known as the Son of Man.