Everyone wants to be loved.
It is innate within us. The peace we derive from knowing we are loved was lost when sin was born into man, but we still crave it. We want people to like us. We want people to approve of us. We want people to think we are good. This is human nature and it will never change.
If you walked into my office and I offered you a bottle of water, you might take it. You might not. If you did, you would take a drink here and there as we talked. But how would things be different if you walked in from being in the desert for three days without water? You would run me over (how rude?!?) getting to the fridge and probably drink down two or three bottles all at once. When we have been denied something we crave at our core, we will go after hard. Sometimes, we will go after it even if it means doing something we shouldn’t. And this brings us to our Verse of the Day:
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
God’s design creates a thirst to be loved
As I said, it is human nature to want to be loved. This craving is part of man’s makeup as designed by God. God intended for this craving to draw us back to Him, the only source of absolute, unconditional and perfect love. But God is unseen and the picture drawn for us by people may help us see God more, but not always as He is. Not seeing Him in the Love that He is causes us to look elsewhere. And the less we have been loved, accepted, and affirmed by the important people in our life, the more time we have spent in a loveless desert.
This is not to say that we were not loved. The question is always how well were we loved. I have sat in counseling sessions where a man is pleading with his wife, affirming to her sincerely how much he loves her. But as my eyes pan over to her face, there’s the black eye he gave her just two nights before. He loves her in that he has a deep affection for her, but this man doesn’t love her well. Our craving is not to be loved, but to be loved well. And when we have not received this much in our lives, and we can’t fully see it in God, we seek it from others like a man in the desert running to a mirage.
We will find ourselves doing the right thing, but for the wrong reasons. We will get up and preach and in our mind, we are telling ourselves we want to honor God, but in our heart, we are hoping people come up to us later and say, ‘That was incredible.’ We get flowers for our wife and we say it is because we love them, but deep down, we just want them to show affection and affirmation. When we are doing good things, the line between doing them to please God or doing them to please man can be a hard line to see. We really must ask the Lord to search our hearts. But there is one way we can get a glimpse into our motivation and that is our response to people who still do not affirm us when we have done something good.
If you get flowers for your wife and then she barely notices them and it offends you, you might be on the wrong side of the line. Maybe those flowers were more about you being loved than loving. And when you find yourself on the wrong side of that line, you are not living to please God, but man. You can tell because when you felt that you did not please your wife, and your reaction is less than holy, you are not dismissing God because she didn’t throw her arms around you and take you straight to the bedroom.
Living to be loved can lead us down a dark road
Sometimes, the need to please others will take us down a dark road. When we are parched for love, we will latch on to anyone who claims to love us, but if they don’t love well, we may not know the difference because we have never seen what loving well looks like. So even though they may be harsh and mistreat us, our desperation for love will allow us to stay and be walked on.
And the even deeper path is when we can only please someone if we do something that even we don’t want to do. When a man pressures a single woman for sex and she is afraid he won’t love her anymore unless she concedes, this is not loving. To withhold affection to pressure a woman into sex is selfishness, not love. But, again, if this woman has never known real love, she might comply because it is too painful to be rejected yet again.
It is so hard to please people anyway. Have you ever noticed how fickle and moody people are? What they like today, they might hate next month. Even the most balanced person is still human. If we base our whole life on gaining the approval of men, we become slaves to their emotions. It might not be that they don’t want to be around you. It could just be that they had a horrible day at work and don’t want to talk about it. Well, this is not good, but it doesn’t mean anything about you. It means their ability to love well has been stifled by whatever is going on at work. But if you are living for their affirmation, your joy is based on their ability to handle the rest of their life perfectly. This is not a good place to be.
It is so much easier to please God.
God’s love is unconditional. It is absolute. Even when we sin, He is merciful. He never holds it against us. He always gives us another chance. He is never not attentive to our needs and desires. He is never self-involved. He is never offended. He is slow to anger and abundant in love. He never sees you as an enemy. He never lashes out. He is always there. Living to please God is a much less stressful life than trying to please people. Don’t be a slave to anyone but Christ. When you make yourself a slave and live to please Him, He favors you like His own son or daughter giving you an inheritance and working for your prosperity. No man, woman, boss, father, mother, or adult child will ever be consistent like God in their approval for who we are.
Have you ever struggled with trying to make people like you, be happy with you, love you to an unhealthy point? Leave me a comment of how you overcame. Or leave a prayer request so I can pray for you.
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Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!
Pastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach. He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years. His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life. He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years. He has three sons and one daughter-in-love. For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.