Whether it’s your child or parents, your husband or wife, your pastor or congregation, let them know, and then relate to them in such a way that they believe it: “Please God and please yourself, and you shall never displease me.”
So many people live with a deep sense of failure. So many people go through their lives convinced they are a constant disappointment to the ones they so naturally long to please.
Children consider their parents and feel a sense of shame, certain that in some way their parents regard them as a disappointment. Meanwhile, parents consider their children and feel that same sense of shame, sure that their children regard them with disapproval.
Husbands consider their wives and wives their husbands and, while they may not know exactly what they’ve done wrong or what standard they have failed to uphold, they are convinced their spouse looks toward them with a displeased eye.
Church members are often convinced their pastor is disappointed in them for their level of involvement in the church or for the minimal strides they have made in sanctification. Pastors, meanwhile, often feel a deep sense of disapproval from church members, perhaps because they are ordinary preachers rather than extraordinary ones or because they simply do not have enough hours in the week to accept every meeting and fulfill every request.
There are so many Christians who live under a cloud of disappointment and disapproval. And we cannot allow ourselves off the hook here. Our husbands and our wives, our parents and our children, our pastors and our congregations—all can feel that withering sense of censure from the likes of you and me.
And, if we’re honest, such censure is often real rather than imagined. It is real because we are all susceptible to expecting people to live up to our standards rather than to God’s.