Avoiding the "People Pleaser" Trap

Sept. 1, 2016 | By Creflo Dollar

It’s human nature to want people to like us, and the need to be accepted can be a powerful force. We become acquainted with this at an early age, learning who the most popular kids are in school and trying to determine how they became that way. Some people take the need to be accepted one step further, and abandon their values and what they know is right just to please others. But the Bible warns against being a people-pleaser.

In our relationships, trying to please others instead of God can twist us into knots and lead us into places where we know we shouldn’t be. It can cause us to compromise, just to fit in with the crowd. We trap ourselves by fearing confrontation, or what others may think of us if we stand firm in our faith. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25, NIV). We can either cater to others and their whims, or please our heavenly Father by doing what we know is right in His eyes, but we must choose.

Seeking others’ approval is like being on treadmill, running, running, running, but never going anywhere. It causes stress anxiety, and tension. Letting fear of people’s opinions bully us into doing this makes us miserable, and that’s not what God wants. During Jesus’ ministry, a number of influential people fell into the trap of worrying about what others would say and do if they listened to Him. “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42, 43).

Nothing productive can come from placing people’s opinions before God’s. His children are bound to step on a few toes, because they do everything to please Him. The world’s standards aren’t His standards. When we live according to His spiritual laws, we can expect some people to withhold their approval. “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).

Realize, however, that Believers can still receive goodwill and approval from others, as long as we remember that God’s approval comes first. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7, AMP). It pleases Him when we live according to His will, and His favor often manifests through other people. It happened with Esther when she went before the king (Esther 2:15), and it can happen with us.

Relationships blossom when each person focuses on pleasing God, not others. He knows our need to be liked and accepted, so in addition to His liking and accepting us, He wants to bless each of our relationships. Who will you choose to please?