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“It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you.” (Proverbs 29:25a TEV)

If you constantly worry about what other people think, then you’re caught in an emotional trap. You don’t have to please everybody any more than you can please everybody. It’s a myth to think that in order to be happy, you must be liked and approved of by everyone you meet. It’s just not true.

Even God can’t please everybody, and only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do. Jesus said he only focused on pleasing God (John 8:29).

So how do you handle hard-to-please people? One thing you don’t do is cave in. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean you’re supposed to submit and let others manipulate you. Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold” (Phillips).

The truth is, no one can pressure you without your permission. If you feel pressured by someone, you’re allowing yourself to feel pressured by that person. If you feel controlled or manipulated, you’re allowing yourself to be controlled or manipulated.

You don’t have to do that! It’s OK to stand up for what’s right. It’s OK to be assertive. Many Christians are afraid to speak up. Many think it’s more spiritual to just be quiet and put up with it all. But God doesn’t expect you to be a doormat — and he didn’t make you to be a wimp.

Talk About It

What are some ways that you can be assertive and not compromise as a Christian?

What kind of consequences have you experienced when you have made decisions with more concern for what others think than what God thinks of you?

 

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church

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