I love people, sometimes too much. I’ll depend on them, be fulfilled by them, desire to please them, and need to feel loved by them, sometimes more than I need God. You see, I place people higher than God, and that’s not loving. That’s false worship.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to need people. We were created to be social beings (Gen. 2:18). It’s not good to remain in isolation and avoid accountability just because relationships are messy. People are a blessing and friendship is a gift from God. But we make something an idol when that blessing becomes more important in our hearts than God. As Calvin put it, “The heart is an idol factory.” Just like the “unrighteous men” in Romans 1, we end up worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. What a shame that we put our hope in the gift instead of where it came from.
We are to love others, but when we constantly have this desire to please people or need them for our sense of worth, that love becomes self-seeking and a form of self-worship.
In this life, people will let us down. No spouse is perfect, parents are human too, and even “best” friends aren’t always the best. That’s because THEY ARE NOT GOD! We should not expect people to be perfect; perfection is impossible this side of heaven. We wouldn’t want people to put unfair expectations on us, so we should not do the same to them. Nothing and no one will truly fulfill us like Christ, yet we still try to find fulfillment in others. Why is that?
I’ve never really struggled with peer pressure, but I do consider myself a people-pleaser. I used to see this as a good thing, like being a peace maker. Why would I want to displease people or make them upset? But I’ve since learned my faults and realize I just hate confrontation for selfish reasons. I don’t want to get hurt, and if I’m honest with myself, I care too much what people think. I want to be loved, but I often look to the wrong source for that love. That’s why we are to love God more than man.
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe” (Proverbs 29:25)
I like the idea of “safe,” but we don’t just love God because it’s safer than being vulnerable with others. We are to love others because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). The only way we can love others is if we put people in their place and look to God alone for our satisfaction.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23).
People in this life will hurt us and we will probably hurt others, after all we aren’t perfect either. People can’t save us and we can’t be God for others, and that’s a good thing! Our humanness is supposed to point us to Christ! That’s why we first love God, then others. Once we have a proper view of God, self, and others, we can truly enjoy human relationship and fellowship. I’ve received the best encouragement from people I love and my close friendships have been a huge comfort to me over the years. Love others, but don’t make them an idol. Trust in God, not man.
Your sister in Christ,