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I love the book of Proverbs. It’s one of the things giving Leviticus a counterbalance right now as I’m reading through the Bible. It’s a book famous for pithy sayings that encapsulate life or give us a different perspective.

I ran across Proverbs 29:27 today:

The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.

Here’s the thing – we all know (or at least claim to know) that we cannot please everyone all of the time. While that truth is meant to be a liberating one, it’s always left me feeling like there’s an unspoken challenge in there. Like – you can’t please everyone all of the time, but could you get a 98% people pleased rate? 95% of the people? If I try really, really hard and keep as many plates spinning in the air as possible, can I keep 90% of the people happy?

Why yes, I’m an incurable people pleaser… how did you guess?

The thing that made me laugh out loud about this proverb today is that it totally reverses our common “You can’t please everyone all of the time” mantra and its ensuing impossibly high bar of trying to keep as many people as possible happy.

It takes away the choice of being someone who keeps everyone happy. You’re left just with the decision about what kind of person you want to be. But know that you cannot base your decision upon how to please others.

Instead, it says straight up that you’re going to be detested. Stop worrying about how many people are going to like you and just decide which camp you want to be detested by… would you rather the righteous and upstanding members of society detesting you or the dishonest and wicked members?

Your choice.

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