Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Prov 29:25 Are you addicted? To approval? Part I

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

At first glance, we might look at this verse and think, "Not me; I don't live in fear of man."  But do we? Are we looking for approval from our sisters and brothers in Christ, or from the world at large?  Do we love that approval . . .are we addicted to it?  We could put this in other ways: pleasing people, wanting their stamp of approval on our actions, or our way of life. Going out of our way to make others happy with us. Are we approval junkies?

The phrase "fear of man" in this verse implies something bad - and it is. But like so many things in life, something negative can develop from something that is good. The fear of man, or the seeking to please others, is not always bad --- let's look at some verses:

1. Children are commanded in the Word to obey and please their parents: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother(Proverbs 10:1)

2. In marriage, we make a commitment to please one another:
“The married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided…the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband” (1 Cor 7:33-35).

3. Servants (employees, too) are to work in ways that please their masters (employers):
“Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,  not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:9-10)

4. Although we have Christian liberty, we are to consider what is pleasing to others:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor 10:31-32). 

So, pleasing people is not a problem in itself -- it's actually a good thing. Sin can distort the good gifts and desires that come from God -- the problem isn't people, or their approval; the problem is being addicted to that approval.
The "fear of man" and the desire to please people becomes sinful when it becomes an overwhelming desire . . . when it becomes too important . . . when we long for it too intently.
So, how can we tell if we have a sinful fear of man, an addiction?
Well, it can be seen in an insatiable desire for approval, or as a controlling fear of rejection. Let's look at this more closely . . .
Do we struggle with peer pressure?
Are we over-committed? Have trouble saying "no" because of what others might think?
Do we "need" respect from our spouse or our friends and acquaintances?
Do we second-guess our decisions because of what others might think?
Do we often lie? Experience jealousy?
All of these are evidences that we might have a problem with approval . . . tomorrow we will explore how to be free of the problem!


Belinda said...

You've been reading my diary again... You really shouldn't do that Snoodles. ;)

I've always been a people pleaser. I think some people are just made that way, but I don't lie. Jealous? Hmmmm yeah, sadly I admit that. I've tried to be less concerned with what others think and as I age, it becomes a little easier. In some things anyway.

Donna McBroom-Theriot said...

Snoodles - thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I loved this post. It was very thought provoking. When I suffered from low self-esteem I think I wanted everyone's approval. Seems like when I hit 50, I decided, time to quite being concerned about everyone else and think more about myself. I finally felt comfortable with who I was and I decided I liked myself and others could do the same - or not. Donna

CATachresis said...

I guess we all want to be liked (well most of us!). You are right, being polite and putting others above ourselves is important and especially important if you are a Christian, but when that is an addiction, then we need to reassess and think why we want that? Look forward to your answer tomorrow :)