Bible Verse

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense. Proverbs 2:3

Friday, January 10, 2014

What's the Deal With Compliments?

Here’s a good question:  Why is it so hard to accept compliments? 

From childhood, we are taught to be polite and say "thank you."  Unfortunately, we outgrow that in our teens, a terribly awkward interval that comes just before the "Hey look at me, I'm legal" phase that starts at age 21.
But a compliment is more than just praise; it's also approval.  We're all wanting approval. 

I think one of the reasons we find it so hard is because we truly don't believe the compliment itself.  We may know the person and know that the person is an honest sort who wouldn't just make something up, but we still, deep down, cannot believe that we merit any special recognition. 
Our insecurities are showing because we're convinced we need to be or do better.  We feel inadequate, uncertain.  We don't want to appear immodest, conceited or rude, but, really, is she kidding?  This blouse?  This incredibly old and outdated blouse?  The one that shows way too much arm flab (and, believe me, I've got plenty)?  Surely not!

I've tried all kinds of ways to be a little smoother about it.  (Disclaimer: I am not looking for compliments nor am I bragging about the ones I occasionally receive J). 
I have tried to just say "thanks," and stop there, but for some reason I also feel compelled to say something about where I got it.  "Thanks.  I picked this up at Wal-Mart.  Super cheap.  Actually, it's not my color, but that was all they had.  I really wish I had gone sooner.  I could have, but just couldn't get in gear.  I saw the ad, just didn't get there until most of them were gone…" 

This is when I realize, to my utter horror, that I am rambling and sounding like a fool, so I abruptly shut up while the poor person who started the whole thing slowly walks away with a small, forced smile, on her way to warn the whole room to steer clear of me unless they want to be tied down for the next 20 minutes.
I've also tried to turn the compliment around so that I am complimenting the compliment-er:  "You are so sweet to say that.  I picked this up at Wal-Mart.  Super cheap.  Actually, it's not my color, but that was all they had…"  Well, so much for progress.

It’s been my experience that insecure people don’t handle compliments very well.  Is that true also for accepting God's compliments?  If we are secure in God's love and protection, we should be able to accept his love and abundance as a natural part of life.  We ought to be very willing to do whatever he wants because if we trust him, it follows that we feel his will is the right way. 
The point is that people who are insecure in their relationship with God may have trouble handling His compliments, which are love and grace.

I'm wondering if we have trouble receiving God's compliments because we don't believe we should have them. 
Well, of course we shouldn’t have them.  Why would a pure and holy God want to have anything at all to do with us when we are so stained by sin?

I don’t know.  But what I do know and believe is this:
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.     John 3:16 (VOICE)

The ultimate compliment.  Give thanks…


  1. It's so true. I think it's part of a woman's wiring. If you ask a man, " Where didja get the cake?"
    He'll say, "Walmart".
    Ask a woman the same question, & she'll say,
    "Why? What's wrong with it?"
    Great post, just like always. (Yes, I mean it!!)

  2. I especially appreciate your comments about insecure people have trouble accepting compliments. Often others see qualities in us that we're unaware of. Listening to their compliments can provide a window into areas where we can grow as a Christian. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on an important subject.