In 2 Samuel 1, I read about an Amalekite who brought Saul’s crown to David, claiming that he had assisted in killing Saul–at Saul’s command. David had the man killed.
“Wow!” I thought. That’s a pretty stiff penalty for doing what Saul asked him to do. Then I did some more research and discovered according to 1 Samuel 31 that Saul didn’t die that way. The “Amalekite” lied intending to please David and possibly get some reward. The opposite happened. David had the man killed.
One commentator believes this man’s claim to be an Amalekite was false. He was most likely an Israelite but then killing Saul would be wrong. By claiming to be a foreigner, he’s hoping he’ll come across as someone who helped Saul and also honored David by bringing him the crown that David rightfully owned. This man is the supreme People Pleaser: he lied and deceived as a possible means to gain someone’s approval and reward.
I questioned my own heart about my tendency to be a people pleaser. I’m so glad God doesn’t strike any of us down for being a people pleaser but sadly, I’ve most likely stretched the truth at times to try to gain someone’s favor. It’s a horrible need within us to value someone’s opinion or what they can give us so much that we abandon trust in God’s ability to provide for us and believe someone else can do it.
And that’s what people pleasing is: it’s distrust of God and making others our “god,” our idol.
This past Saturday, I had the joy of speaking at a writers conference where an editor of a major publishing house was also on the faculty. I so wanted to have the opportunity of making personal contact with him. There really didn’t turn out to be an opportunity and in times past, I would have forced it to happen. This time I could resist the temptation to believe that this editor held the key to my success and happiness.. Instead, I could trust that if God wanted that contact in the future, I could trust that He could make it happen.
I praised God that He had strengthened me to trust Him and reduce my people pleasing addiction.
How about you? Is People Pleasing one of your pastimes? How have you found it possible to resist it more and more? And aren’t you glad God isn’t like David?