I read a social media meme recently that said, “Stop trying to make everyone happy. You’re not chocolate.”
I get it; trying to please others is a downright exhausting endeavor. And the truth is, it’s a losing game. But we play the impossible game anyway by constantly second-guessing our words and our actions in light of how others perceive them.
Did we say too much or too little? Did we say the wrong thing to the wrong person? Or did we try and keep quiet only to be accused of moodiness or unfriendliness? Is a smile mistaken for a smirk and the lack of a smile taken as a snub?
Do people misinterpret our actions as well? When we help one person, does another person feel slighted and hurt? Does almost everything we do for someone end up offending someone else? If so, then welcome to the emotionally charged and politically corrected culture in which we all live.
My husband has a ready solution for this problem. He purchased a T-shirt that reads, “Notice: I can only please one person per day, and today is not your day. Tomorrow is not looking so good either.”
If only it were that easy. The reality is that we live in a world filled with other people. And most people live strictly by their feelings, not by the godly precepts spelled out in the Bible. Even the best of Christ-followers succumb to faulty feelings on a daily, if not momentary, basis.
What’s a Christian supposed to do? After all, the Bible tells us to love one another and be willing to lay down our lives for others. So, what’s the solution to the problem of pleasing people?
The answer is simple: Please God!
Ultimately, God is the only entity we are required to please because only those things done for Christ will last. That’s the truth. When we seek to please God in all we do, then everything and everyone will fall into place beside Him. It’s simply a matter of priorities, a matter of putting Him first. And if we seek God first, then we are guaranteed that everything else will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33).
Truly seeking God also places things into immediate perspective. After all, the things that matter to the heart of God are the very same things that matter most to all of mankind. We are made in His image, and we seek the same thing He seeks—love. It’s that simple. Loving God first makes the assignment of loving unlovable, unappeasable humans so much easier, even effortless.
Understand though, pleasing God will not negate the necessity to love and serve others. On the contrary, it is the first step to pleasing others. Proverbs 16:7 reminds us that “when a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (KJV).
So, make up your mind and heart to please God alone. And when you do that, God will gently and gracefully guide you into loving others. He will show you when to act and what to say. He will nudge you in His oh-so-gentle way to speak a good word in the right season.
Please God, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to please others.