Christians are called to fear God (Proverbs 1:7). They are to live with a holy regard for His character and His Word. Unfortunatetly, many choose to fear other people, more than the Lord. They are what I would call “people pleasers.” This is sad, considering all of the harm such a lifestyle incurs. The Bible says “The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected” (Proverbs 29:25). The word “snare” was used of a trap. In a society well acclimated with hunting and farming, Solomon’s readers got the picture of his words. He portrayed a person like an animal, caught in a trap and frantically thrashing in fear. So it is with those who live to please people. Their lives are dominated by constant worry. By studying the lives of people pleasers in the Bible, we see three consequences of living by the fear of man.
People pleasers miss out on the blessings of life.
People pleasers are driven by the opinions of people, not the Word of God. Because of this, they often deprive themselves of some of God’s blessings. Abraham fell into this trap when he settled in the region of the Negev. Read Genesis 20:1-18. He lied about the identity of his wife and he claimed that she was his sister, all because he was afraid that he would be killed on account of her beauty. Imagine the lengths Abraham had to go to in order to keep his secret. All in the name of pleasing others, he neglected his wife. He kept her at arm’s length, depriving himself of the marital intimacy and interaction which often brings great joy. When we are similarly driven by the fear of people, we will also miss out on many of God’s blessings for our lives.
People pleasers hurt others.
Have you ever read the story of the way in which John the Baptist died? You most likely know that he was beheaded, but do you know why? He lost his life because of a people pleaser. Herod summoned John’s execution because he was afraid of a spoiled teenager and a bossy woman! Read John 14:1-12. Though he was a high-ranking government official, Herod was driven by the fleeting opinions of others. Sadly, he didn’t bear the main brunt of his error. John did. A good man lost his life because of an unstable man’s people pleasing tendencies. Be aware. When you live for the praise of others, you will make decisions that harm others. Your children, spouse, grandchildren, friends, neighbors, and fellow believers will suffer.
People pleasers disrespect God.
Though Jesus was ordained to be sacrificed for sin by the eternal foreknowledge of God (Revelation 13:8), He was put to death on earth because of a people pleaser. Pilate didn’t want to have Jesus crucified, but his hand was forced by a riotous mob. Read Matthew 27:15-25. Unbeknownst to him, Pilate placed himself in league with evil men and the devil himself because of his inordinate desire to keep people happy. Something similar will happen in your life, if you don’t deal with your people pleasing tendencies. Because of your unhealthy concern over what others think, you will inadvertently show contempt for the Lord. You will miss out on His will for your life and engage in behavior which is completely contradictory to His nature.
Dr. Patrick Latham