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A16. Seeking to Please Men over God.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to seek men's approval over God's.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Matthew 6:2-4
So, when you do tzedakah, don't announce it with trumpets to win people's praise, like the hypocrites in the synagogues and on the streets. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already! But you, when you do tzedakah, don't even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Then your tzedakah will be in secret; and your Father, who sees what you do in secret, will reward you.

Galatians 1:10
Now does that sound as if I were trying to win human approval? No! I want God's approval! Or that I'm trying to cater to people? If I were still doing that, I would not be a servant of the Messiah.

Supportive Scriptures

Luke 16:15
He said to them, "You people make yourselves look righteous to others, but God knows your hearts; what people regard highly is an abomination before God!"

John 12:42-43
Nevertheless, many of the leaders did trust in him; but because of the P'rushim they did not say so openly, out of fear of being banned from the synagogue; for they loved praise from other people more than praise from God.

Acts 5:29
Kefa and the other emissaries answered, "We must obey God, not men."

Ephesians 6:5-8
Slaves, obey your human masters with the same fear, trembling and single-heartedness with which you obey the Messiah. Don't obey just to win their favor, serving only when they are watching you; but serve as slaves of the Messiah, doing what God wants with all your heart. Work willingly as slaves, as people do who are serving not merely human beings but the Lord. Remember that whoever does good work, whether he be a slave or a free man, will be rewarded by the Lord.

Colossians 3:22
Slaves, obey your human masters in everything, not serving only when they are watching you, to win their favor, but single-heartedly, fearing the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 2:4-6
Instead, since God has tested us and found us fit to be entrusted with Good News, this is how we speak: not to win favor with people but with God, who tests our hearts. For, as you know, never did we employ flattering talk, nor did we put on a false front to mask greed - God is witness. Nor did we seek human praise- either from you or from others.

Jude 1:16
These people are grumblers and complainers, they follow their evil passions, their mouths speak grandiosities, and they flatter others to gain advantage.


The un-regenerated man seeks man's approval over God's. It is a hold-over from the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. But Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs us:

... so far as your former way of life is concerned, you must strip off your old nature, because your old nature is thoroughly rotted by its deceptive desires; and you must let your spirits and minds keep being renewed, and clothe yourselves with the new nature created to be godly, which expresses itself in the righteousness and holiness that flow from the truth.

It is not wrong to seek men's approval so long as we put God's approval first:

1 Peter 2:13-14  For the sake of the Lord, submit yourselves to every human authority - whether to the emperor as being supreme, or to governors as being sent by him to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do what is good.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the Jewish classical commentators.


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