I’m a people pleaser. Much more than I should be. I want everyone to like me. I want everyone to think well of me. Even though I consciously know that’s not possible, I still seek to have the approval of all.
Not that I think offending everyone should be a goal. Nor that insensibility toward the feelings of others is a good thing. Still, I think that too much time spent worrying about what others might think isn’t a good thing.
When differences arise at church, one of the great threats that is always presented is that people will leave. You’re going to offend people with this. People may start leaving.
I’ve come to think that, to some degree, people leaving a congregation is a natural thing. Especially in a town like Abilene, where you have dozens of churches of Christ. And I also think that congregations can be held hostage by a few who wield the threat of an exodus.
When we were in Córdoba, we ran a language institute, an annex of a large binational center. It was a prestigious institute. I’ll never forget something one of my colleagues said once. He said that when people come in complaining about their prices, he pulls out a list of inexpensive language institutes and offers it to them. And he tells them, “If the only factor you are considering is price, you would do well to consider these.”
I don’t have any specific issues in mind, nor am I planning anything controversial. I just got to wondering: how do you decide when to say, “Doggone those torpedoes, full speed ahead!” and when do you say “Unity is the most important thing”? Obviously, our goal is to please God, not to please men. However, we’re also taught to act out of love and to seek peace in the body. When do we decide that something is for the greater good, even when it steps on some people’s toes?
Photo by by Petr Kratochvil