Avoid the Please Disease
Deborah Smith Pegues
Author, Supreme Confidence
CBN.com Where in the world is Moses?” That was the question on the mind of each person who had followed him in the Jewish exodus from Egyptian bondage. During the journey to the Promised Land, God summoned Moses to Mt. Sinai to give him instructions and commandments for the people. Thing is, God didn’t tell him or the people how long he would be gone. Forty days passed. The last time anybody had seen Moses, he was disappearing into the fog on his way to the top of the mountain. He left Aaron, his people-pleasing brother, in charge.
The multitude grew more restless by the day. Somebody decided that something needed to be done about Moses’ absence. Assuming he was never coming back, the people approached Aaron.
“Look,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. This man Moses, who brought us here from Egypt, has disappeared. We don’t know what has happened to him.” So Aaron said, “Tell your wives and sons and daughters to take off their gold earrings, and then bring them to me.” All the people obeyed Aaron and brought him their gold earrings. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded and tooled it into the shape of a calf. The people exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:1-4 NLT).
There. All done. Aaron had pacified their impatience. He had gone along to get along. You will notice in the account of this event that Aaron made not the slightest protest. His fear of the people caused him to cave in very quickly to their evil demand for a god. When Aaron finished making the calf, the people began a wild celebration by worshiping it as their new god.
But wait! Here comes Moses—and boy, is he angry. He sees the wild party in progress and the worshiping of the golden calf. He is so upset that he threw to the ground and broke into pieces the stone tablets on which God had personally written the Ten Commandments. Without seeking any explanation, he “took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it” (Exodus 32:20).
Now it was time to confront his brother.
After that, he turned to Aaron. “What did the people do to you?” he demanded. “How did they ever make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” “Don’t get upset, sir,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know these people and what a wicked bunch they are. They said to me, ‘Make us some gods to lead us, for something has happened to this man Moses, who led us out of Egypt.’ So I told them, ‘Bring me your gold earrings.’ When they brought them to me, I threw them into the fire—and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:21-24 NLT).
Likely story, Aaron.
Have you ever noticed that insecure people do not “own” or take full responsibility for their actions? Aaron knew he had personally fashioned the golden calf with his tooling equipment, yet he lied and claimed that the calf mysteriously came out of the fire. His fear of displeasing Moses caused him to shift the blame onto the people rather than admitting that he too had sinned by catering to their demand.
No one in a position of authority can afford to be so weak that he compromises his moral standards or personal convictions to avoid being unpopular or losing favor.
Aaron’s “please disease” resulted in disastrous consequences. Moses instructed the tribe of the Levites to kill more than 3,000 rebellious people that day, including some of their own relatives. Afterward, God sent a plague among the people to punish them further.
Years later, after Moses’ death, Joshua became his successor and finally led the people into the Promised Land. He was no people pleaser. In fact, he sternly warned the Israelites as they settled in the new territory to make a strong commitment to reject idols and to serve God only.
But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD
(Joshua 24:15 NLT).
Joshua did not walk in fear of man’s rejection or disapproval. He let the multitude know in no uncertain terms that he would not be going along to get along.
Fear of Being Alone
When we fast-forward to the time Jesus was on the earth, we notice the same “going along to get along” attitude prevailing among some of the Jewish leaders who really believed that Jesus was indeed the Messiah: “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God” (John 12:42-43). What a tragedy! These men made a conscious decision to choose acceptance over eternal life. The thought of alienation from the group was more than they could bear. According to famed psychologist Abraham Maslow, acceptance is one of the basic human needs. However, when we usurp God’s authority and decide it is our personal responsibility to get our acceptance needs met, we are prone to making relational decisions that dishonor Him and thwart His purposes in our lives.
It is inherent in the nature of man to want to be in relationship with others. Society punishes lawbreakers by incarcerating them and separating them from their everyday relationships. Even in prison, the most dreaded form of punishment, other than death, is solitary confinement. Some states are trying to ban it as cruel and unusual punishment. God Himself declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Clearly, God wants us to be in relationship with others. We run into trouble, however, when we decide we must maintain a particular relationship, even at the expense of violating God’s principles and mandates or His plan for our lives.
All authority figures will pay a price when they fail to exercise tough love or to make the proper hard decisions. Parents must especially be on guard. Those who fear rejection or loss of a child’s affection will often go along to get along.
Sadly, many are too insecure to discipline their children because they want to maintain their friendship. Since when did a parent’s role include being a friend? If most will be honest, they will admit that they frequently say yes when they should say no to make up for the lack of time they spend with their kids. Of course, we know that in the final analysis, an investment of quality time yields a better payoff in the long-term than anything else a parent can do.
Paradoxically, children will usually end up disrespecting or even resenting a parent who operates in that kind of insecurity. I know a man who is now more than 40 years old and laments that his single-parent mother and his older siblings “spoiled” him by catering to his irresponsibility. Of course, he was a master at manipulating them and making them feel guilty when they tried to deny his frequent requests for loans and other favors. He asserts, however, that by giving in to him, they prevented him from becoming the mature man he could have been much earlier in life. His family never had the courage to exercise the necessary tough love. He now blames them for his being a late bloomer.
- When was the last time you went along with someone in order to avoid displeasing him?
- What exactly did you fear? What is the worst that would have happened had the thing you feared come to pass?
- Think of one area where you would like to exercise your God-directed judgment in the coming days. Plan to do so without fear of repercussion. Remember that God is in control of every aspect of your life.
To read more tips for bold and fearless living, check out Supreme Confidence.
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From Supreme Confidence: Secrets to Bold and Fearless Living, © 2008 by Deborah Smith Pegues. Published by Harvest House Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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