Thursday, March 27, 2014

When You Just Can't Please People

Have you ever been in a situation where it seems that no matter what you do you are going to be in trouble?  To be honest, sometimes it is completely on you.  When I was in high school I thought it would be a grand romantic gesture to buy my girlfriend a "diamond"(in quotations because it was so small it barely qualified as a diamond and cost less then $120) for Christmas.  My parents were, and still are, fairly wise people.  I knew that they would never accept me doing something so ill advised.  So I kept it secret from them. 

Being a good mom "found" the receipt "accidentally" in the bottom of my underwear drawer....Seriously mom, what were you doing in there anyways...can't you just trust me???.....And my parents sat me down for a "talk".  Since they were scheming tricksters who liked letting me hang myself they asked me to share with them again what I had bought for my girlfriend.  My radar was up, but I thought I could skate through this.  So I lied.  And comes the evidence. 

At this point there was nothing I could say to protect myself.  The lying part of the event caused my parents to punish me with an assignment to write a 6 page biblically researched paper about lying and respecting your parents.  Which led to my second unwinnable situation.  I was grounded UNTIL I finished the paper.  So, the quicker I got it done, the quicker I was free.  I wrote it in one day....and it was actually quite good.  But that resulted in my parents pointing out that I would never be able to get away with turning a class assignment in late ever again......which I had a tendency to do...sometimes literally MONTHS late. 

Damned no matter what I do..... And it was totally my fault....

But there is a much more difficult place to be stuck.  When nothing you do will cause someone to respond well to you.  And you ARE NOT in the wrong.  This is a terrible place to be.  When you find yourself there it can become debilitating.  You start to make bad decisions, and even crazy ones, just in the hopes that maybe something will break this impasse.  Being consumed by worry about this persons opinion of you leads to all sorts of unhealthy choices and mindsets. 

Being a people pleaser is no way to live.

While it is to be commended when we seek to be servant hearted, that shouldn't drift into bad behaviors for the sake of serving.  Then you won't be serving anyone.... My son is a tyrant at meal times.  NOTHING we offer is good enough for him.  Should we then offer him candy?  Of course not.  I can't force feed him, but I also will not compromise truth and health just to make him "happy"

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon,".  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Here is a glutton and a drunkard"--Matthew 11:18-19

People, in their sin, complained about John for one reason, and then, complained about Jesus for the opposite reason.  You just can't win with some people.  The problem wasn't John's ministry or Jesus's message.  The problem was sinful hearts.  No matter how graceful, loving and miraculous either man could be in their midst, they had already decided in their hearts to be opposed to them. 

So how do we handle it?

By not handling it....

Jesus goes on to say, "Wisdom is proved right by her actions".  The context leads us to understand that the wise choice in the midst of the complaints is to do what is right.  Not because someone will respond well to it, but, BECAUSE it is right.  If someone still wants to be mad at you, that's on them.  At the heart of someone's dissatisfaction with you is often the reality of sin.  Root yourself, not in their opinions and reactions, but instead on the Word of God. 

So how do you respond to someone who treats you like that?  Love and patience!  You can't change them by what you do, you just have to love them.  The ministry of Jesus and the Gospel is not about "proving" it is right so that people get over themselves and their complaints.  It is about changed hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit.  And, unless I am gravely mistaken, you are not the Holy Spirit.  Do what is right, speak what is true, serve them as Christ served you.  And let the chips fall where they may.


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