“Pilate went out again, and said to them, ‘See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.. When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ Pilate said to them, ‘Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.’ When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid… Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, ‘If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.’ When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out... Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.” (Jn 19: 4-8, 12-13, 16)
Pilate is a “people-pleaser.” And modern-day psychology describes this as a “relationship addiction,” which entails “a losing sight of one’s own preferences because of deferring to the preferences of others.” In Pilate’s case, we see a clear case of such loss of vision and identity, both here and in the preceding chapter, when he asks: “What is truth?” (Jn 18: 38) He has no idea, even when Truth stares him in the face. Pilate is all about fearfully “safeguarding relationships” with people, as any people-pleaser is, to the point that he can’t respond to God’s call to enter into a relationship with Him.
Today let me take note of the rut of people-pleasing, which leads me to lose sight of who I am, in God: His beloved creation, called to growth, in a nurturing relationship with Him. Let me align myself first and foremost with Him and His unchangeing love today, taking care of my spiritual health in some heartfelt prayer and self-examination. May God’s grace liberate me from the fears, exhaustion, and quiet resentments of people-pleasing; from seeking, futilely, always to align myself with the changeable wills and opinions of other people. Glory be to Him.