In Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians in the first century, he talks about the contrast between pleasing people and pleasing God (see chapter one of Galatians).
The truth is, loving people is not the same as pleasing them. Loving them is required. Pleasing them is impossible.
We can “overshoot” people pleasing and end up totally co-dependent.
Our personality can actually disappear when we, like a chameleon walking across a patchwork quilt, exploded into a puff of smoke.
The truth is, the collective “web” of people’s expectations can smother us.
Paul calls this collective “web” the law. Most of it is good. But taken as a whole, it is impossible.
And those of us brought up in a (well meaning) religious background were fed an implied message (or even explicit one) that trying to keep all the rules and say yes to all the grownups made us “nicer” and better people. So we had a whole ‘nother layer of rules and (infinite) expectations from church and God that made our bar even higher to clear.
Add to that the expectations of peer pressure in teen years and the social expectations of advertising, the economy, our bosses, etc. and we’re in a real mess by the time we’re adults.
Our response to these impossible compounded expectations can only be a broken one. We lie. We bargain. We spin. We try to keep everyone happy. Remember Lucille Ball on the dessert assembly line? We get behind and we start to fake it and cut corners.
Isn’t this “broken response to impossible expectations” more or less a pretty good everyday definition of sin?
This would be a good place for a savior to show up :-). More coming later.