You Can’t Please Everybody

Photo of Mega Churches and Starving Child - Please Everybody
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Most people want the approval and acceptance of others. We learn at an early age the importance of being accepted by our parents and peers. When we are young, we try to please our parents and our friends. Sometimes we go to great lengths to accomplish this even changing who and what we are. Even going so far as to altering our plans and goals to those of our parents or friends. It is during this time we learn to wear a mask to hide our feelings and try to please those around us. By the time we reach adulthood some people learn you can’t please everybody and so they find their own identity. Adolescence is the time many rebel against the conformity of childhood and start the process of self-discovery.  They shed the constraints of their parents and experiment with various forms of self-expression.  But even then acceptance is important to developing their personal worth. We are all familiar with the influence our peers can have on our lives, especially during adolescence.  The pursuit of acceptance can sometimes become all-encompassing and drive people to do terrible things. To please peers and feel superior they can begin to bullying others.

Indoctrination into the art of pleasing others becomes part of our education early in life. In the beginning for our survival and later for own emotional well-being. The desire for acceptance can take on a dark side when it becomes the most important thing in your life. The pursuit of fame and celebrity driven by feelings of insecurity and the need for acceptance from the masses is a powerful attraction. No longer content to find recognition by family and friends they seek the adulation of millions. However, they fail to realize this acceptance is fleeting and temporary. And we are all familiar with the tragic stories of celebrities who found fame to be hollow and fell into self-destructive lifestyles. Fame did not cure their insecurities or provide them with the fulfillment they sought. They sacrifice their principles and self-respect to achieve their goal of celebrity and stardom. It is not just entertainers and athletes who suffer from this malady, many people do so on a smaller scale spending their lives trying to please everyone, but themselves. Pastors and churches can fall prey to this wish to please everyone. The goal of the church is no longer preaching the Gospel, instead filling auditoriums and stadiums becomes the mission. They equate the crowds with success just like entertainers. They seek to please men instead of pleasing God. To make the message of Jesus more palpable to the masses they are more like motivational speakers and less like preachers. The church becomes a business when it should be a hospital for sick souls. Entertainment becomes more important than educating.

We all have to decide whether it is more important to please men or to please God. Anyone can be a good person when surrounded by good people, but the difficulty is in being good when surrounded by evil people who want you to follow them. Will we stand strong against the impulse for acceptance and stay good or will we fall to the temptation of the masses and like sheep be led to the slaughter? Our fear of rejection and non-acceptance by others must not lead us to do what we know is wrong. There is a great desire to want to follow the crowd, but following the crowd leads to disastrous results. Our prisons and cemeteries are full of people who allowed the approval of the crowd to cause them to make fatal decisions. To be great sometimes requires you to have the courage to go against the crowd. Your goal should be to seek the praise of God and not the praise of men, for the praise of men in temporary and hollow.

Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in 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. [1]

[1] John 12:42-43