It feels good to make others feel good. It’s nice to see a smile on someone’s face when you give a kind word or compliment, and sometimes these small things can help people along who are having a bad day.
As a Christian though, I wonder about giving and receiving compliments. Is this something we should practice?
I have a bad tendency to desire love and appreciation. It is a big flaw of mine, and I try to keep it in check. This is especially true when it come to KindlingTruth. It feels good to get nice comments, to see a handful of “likes” and “shares.” Maybe too good. Maybe I’m at risk of doing the Lord’s work to be seen of men. That’s not good.
It takes a humble person who fears God to do work for the Lord and not get puffed up in it. I understand how ministers, pastors, and those with some other form of work start desiring the approval of man. It feels good to be appreciated and taken seriously. Not good though. Not good at all.
We cannot seek the favor of man and the favor of God at the same time.
Ministry work aside, what about our daily lives? What about the giving and receiving of compliments?
As a woman, I think of compliments women give. “Your hair looks nice today.” “I like your shoes.” “You have a beautiful smile/eyes/figure.”
What about, “I love your humility” or “I love your modesty.” Is that better?
When encouraging someone, should we offer worldly encouragement? Should we encourage a person to seek favor of man or of God?
Maybe something like, “The Lord has blessed you with such modesty. Praise God!”
In the last example, the person getting the “compliment” is encouraged in their godly attributes while knowing that this is a blessing given by the Lord. God is praised, not the person.
As someone who has been weak to desiring appreciation, I sometimes like to show appreciation. I don’t know if that is a good thing. We see this all the time. We are encouraged by society to give little acts of flattery disguised as “kindness.” It is good to lift people up, but it is not good to puff people up. The best way to lift up a Christian is to set their focus on the things of God, not the themselves or the things of this world. Certainly not the praises of man.
How might we give “compliments” that encourage our brothers and sisters to seek the favor of the Lord and honor God instead of encouraging the favor of man and praising of themselves?
How should we receive a compliment? I think we should accept the compliment as genuine, thank the person, and redirect their praise to the Lord. If possible, maybe return them with a “compliment” that is encouraging for them in a Christian way. Will people like this? Maybe not.
If we live after the ways of the Lord, our ways are strange to those of this world. This might seem strange to some, but I think this is right. Praise the Lord alone!
Don’t feel too badly if you have desired to be shown appreciation and flattery. It is natural to man, but we are called above the natural to the divine. I should come up with some kind of closing disclaimer for my articles stating that I write things which I have experienced. It’s not like some booming voice tells me what to write. I’m messed up. The Lord teaches me and I write about it. He heals our messes and brings good things from it. We are in this together. Don’t beat yourself up, but seek the Lord and he will convict your heart and turn you towards what is true.