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  • Writer's pictureShawn Thornton

People Pleasing Never Works

Monday - November 29th

Scripture to Read Today: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4


We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time."

This famous quote gets attributed to various people - from the 15th-century monk and poet John Lydgate to our 16th American President Abraham Lincoln. But, no matter who initially said it, the proverbial thought proves accurate the longer you live. When you always focus on pleasing everyone, you eventually end up frustrating both yourself and others - and pleasing no one.

When pleasing people becomes one of your core values or goals in life, you can't win. This is because the expectations of others constantly change. We cannot possibly satisfy everyone all of the time. Yet, many people get caught on this vicious and exhausting hamster wheel of emotional investment. Otherwise, healthy relationships might sour as we create frustration between family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and us.

The Apostle Paul defended his authority and authenticity as an Apostle throughout his first letter to the first-century church in Thessalonica. People outside the church had questioned Paul's legitimacy, and their undermining of Paul spread within the young church family. Nevertheless, he made it clear to the Thessalonian believers that His motives for ministry among them had been pure. He served them and ultimately the Lord free of greedy, selfish reasons.

Paul declared to the believers questioning his motivation, "We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else" (1 Thessalonians 2:6). He stressed to the Thessalonian believers that he was "not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts" (1 Thessalonians 2:4). He wanted them to know that he aimed his heart to please His Lord and Savior, not people.

Whether Lydgate or Lincoln declared we cannot please everyone always in that famous quote, the statement about never entirely pleasing others is accurate. When we desire to please God, we will treat others with the same grace and truth Christ expressed to the people He met daily. But, we will not get trapped on the cruel and hopeless hamster wheel of pleasing others.

Today, seek to please God in all you do and say - and accept that not everyone will be pleased with you.


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