Who are we trying to please?

Have you ever seen a child throwing a fit? I mean like a full-blown, embarrassing, throw-themselves-on-the-floor-like-they’re-on-fire kind of fit? It stinks when it happens at home. It’s absolutely horrifying when it happens in public. I wish I could say that my sweet little angels have never done such awful things, but then I’d be lying through my teeth. Although each of my children has probably done this at some point, I’ll have to say it wasn’t often – at least the public displays of freaking out. As would be expected, they tend to save their “best behavior” for the privacy of their own home (said with sarcasm). It’s so polite of them (more sarcasm).

But you know why the public displays are cut relatively short? Now please hear me on this: our kids do not have a natural tendency towards the ultra polite and sweet. I wish. Our kids just knew we weren’t going to deal with their antics. So the antics stopped. I admit, the watching eyes of others helped, but it was also the fact that we weren’t going to let them get away with it quite so much in public. No bribery involved. It was more of, “Obey or there will be some serious corrections involved.” Corrections can mean a lot of different things, but the point is not to punish our little blessings but to correct their behavior. Not just for our benefit, but for theirs.

I share all of this because often when we are trying to figure out how to deal with an insane child in the immediate, we often either appease or just ignore it and hope it all goes away. And I understand 100%. Who wants to have a child losing their mind in front of everyone when you know what will make it all stop quickly? Like handing them a screen. Or giving them that candy. Or just ignoring the bad behavior and saying you’ll deal with it later, knowing full well “later” won’t happen. I know. I’ve tried.

The problem with this tactic is it’s a short-term gain, long-term loss. You win the battle, but will ultimately lose the war. Parenting is hard, and so much of it is just being in the trenches and not ignoring or band-aiding problems, but actually dealing with all of the little stuff in the immediate, and doing it with grace, wisdom, and consistency.

That’s what life is like too. There are so many issues that have been swept under the rug, and too many of us have just appeased the offending actions of many in the name of keeping the peace or maintaining unity; or if you really want to sound biblical, having grace.

Grace can be a tricky word. The most common biblical definition of grace is “giving unmerited favor.” To be sure, we need to have grace for others, but we should never compromise Truth for the sake of having “grace.” For example, not speaking up against abortion in the name of having grace for someone is wrong. That’s not grace. That’s just straight-up irresponsible and honestly, unloving. Should we be gentle and loving? Of course! But we share the Truth of the preciousness of life in and out of the womb, no matter the circumstances.

Too long we (as in the Body of Christ) have stood back not wanting to get our hands dirty in the culture in order not to tick anyone off. We want people to feel comfortable coming to our church, so let’s just not speak about this. Or certainly not that. Just get them in the door and then it’s all good!

If that isn’t a lie from hell, I don’t know what is. It’s not only essentially a bait and switch, it’s not doing anyone any favors. Whatever we do to get a person to come to church is what we will continue to need to do to keep them there. Here also, it’s a short-term gain, long-term loss. We must be sure to be clear on the foundational truths of Scripture from the beginning. If not, we’re bound to create confusion and division in the church in the future. Those hot button issues won’t just go away. They’re still going to be there in the future if they’re not addressed in the present. This may be uncomfortable at first, but our first priority is not to please others, but to please God.

I’m not advocating for dumping Truth on someone’s head and overwhelming them out of the church. We’ve all been new Christians and know that change in some areas of our lives takes time, as well as just learning what it looks like to be a Believer takes time. That’s not the point. But what I AM advocating for is not pandering to anyone’s agenda. The only agenda we, as the Church, should be pandering to is the LORD’s agenda. Those who are the LORD’s will stay to hear, study, and obey the Truth of Scripture. Those who are not the LORD’s will go. And that’s just reality. Of course, we should continue to pray for these people, and lovingly point them in the direction of Jesus, but it is the Spirit’s work to convict. We are only the messengers. As long as we are careful to stick to the Truth of Scripture (and not add any personal preferences), if they reject the free gift of Salvation and the Lordship of Jesus, that’s not our responsibility and we must be willing to let them go. If Jesus allowed people to walk away (Mark 10:17 – 27), why should we do otherwise??

I pray we can all have grace that is Christ-centered and bold courage that is based on the Word of God. LORD, give us the discernment to know when to stand firm and when to leave room for different non-essential convictions. Guide us, Father God, and fill us with Your Spirit. We are in desperate need of You.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


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