You can be addicted to a lot of different things like alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, and even food. But did you know you can also be addicted to approval? When Moses chose 70 leaders to help govern Israel, he told them, ‘Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone.’ (Deuteronomy 1:17 NIV) That is advice Peter should have taken. ‘Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.’ (Galatians 2:12 NIV)
When your identity is wrapped up in other people’s acceptance, you set yourself up for approval addiction, because your sense of self-worth is always on the line. A notable French author said, ‘We’re so accustomed to wearing a disguise before others, that eventually we’re unable to recognise ourselves.’ That’s not how God wants you to live! No one’s approval or disapproval can affect you—unless you give it credibility. Jesus spoke without feeling the need to create an impression; therefore, He was free to speak the truth in love.
Someone wisely pointed out, that when we are young we worry about what people think and try to please them. When we are middle-aged, we get tired of trying to please everybody. And as we get older and wiser, we realise, most of the time, they weren’t even thinking about us at all! Guess what? There are times when pleasing God means you won’t be able to please people—and you must accept that!