I’ve recently seen someone going on a rant about how we respond to compliments. Somehow in Christian circles, we seem to think that it’s wrong to receive them at times. We want to be humble and if anyone says anything true of us, we tend to discount it. I don’t think that’s humility really. That’s insulting.
I’ll tell you all also that I’m a very bad one with this. My personality type is the type that would prefer to lower itself in many cases and make the worst out of anything and concentrate on the negatives. My friends really have to work hard to get me to believe a compliment, which I realize is an insult to them. It’s like telling them they’re trying to trick me or don’t know what they’re talking about.
Now granted, there are some people out there who will only give compliments so that they can trick you in some way. We’re not talking about people with ulterior motives here. We’re talking about people who genuinely do want to tell you something good about yourself and how you and I can tend to resist it.
I don’t see why we should. Do we ever stop to think that maybe what these people say is true? Would it be wrong of us to delight in what was said? Now we shouldn’t be dependent on it, but is it wrong to enjoy a compliment? Is it wrong to here something good about yourself and not cut yourself down in response?
But let us consider the ultimate compliment. What about praise from God? (Look it up. It’s in John 12.) What about the compliment given that God loves us so much that he sends his only son for us? What does it say of us if we lower ourselves when he has treated us so highly.
It is God who has all the truth about us and while we may want some individual truth, we won’t find that in Scripture. Still, we see the way he loves humanity and the church. If he views us in such a way, then it is a sin for us to lower ourselves in a way that we ought not to.
The medieval church said that the entirety of the universe paled in comparison to man. Do we agree? We should. Man bears the image of God and you are far greater than all the stars and galaxies out there. If that’s the case then, should you not accept the divine truth God has said about you in Scripture?
And ultimately, accepting such compliments is humbling. We dare not exalt ourselves over God. However, if we have a proper view, we will realize that God is that much above us. We must see him as he is and we as we are. We are defined by how we relate to him. He is not defined by how he relates to us.
So to all who have said something complimenting to me, I appreciate it, and I hope to learn to accept it better, but thanks especially to my heavenly father who thinks I am worth far more than many sparrows.