PEOPLE-PLEASING

Monday, September 7, 2015


You were bought at a (high) price; do not become slaves of human beings.” (1 Cor 7:23)

Here St. Paul is talking about the civic duties of slaves and freemen, in the context of his world, in which slavery was legal. But he uses this context to express the liberating “servitude” into which every Christian enters, having been “bought” with the complete self-giving of Jesus Christ, Who shed His blood on the cross for all of us. When I embrace Christ and live in Him, Who entirely embraced my humanity and infused it with His Spirit, the grace of His Spirit leads me according to His motivations and rules. This is one of the most exciting aspects of being a Christian: sharing in the freedom of the Spirit, made possible by sharing in the liberated humanity of the Body of Christ. He liberates me from the tyranny of people-pleasing.

I inevitably slip into people-pleasing whenever I cease to lead a God-centered life; when human opinion becomes my focus. When I am in “the disease to please,” I am motivated by fear, personal gain, false obligation, the desire to be seen or accepted, and so on. All of this is “only human,” and understandable outside God; without His Spirit. It is, I think, impossible to escape it without His help.

So today I ask, in prayer, to be led by Him; not to be left to my own devices. Because I know that He willingly gives of Himself when we ask, just as we willingly give our children what they ask, when they ask for the good: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Lk 11: 13)

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