Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Dare You Say Something Kind!

Last night, at a neighborhood study group, a woman offered up a really nice compliment.  After I closed the study in prayer, she suggested that I open a prayer line for people to call in so I can pray for them.

You would have thought she suggested I dye my hair red and green to express true Christmas spirit.

In my typical false modesty fashion I responded with a deflecting joke about my Midwestern nasal sound that is not really made for amplification or recording.  I then make another not so funny joke about being Lucy from Peanuts cartoon, chagrining while charging people 5 cents at a prayer help booth, after I bully Charlie Brown.

This is actually an improvement.  I used to argue with people when they complimented me. 

Once a gentleman praised a class I led, and I just about took him to the woodshed.  Really, we ended up laughing as I protested his kindness directed at me by telling him directly he was wrong.

Why am I uncomfortable with another's kind appreciation? 

When someone says they like my flip flops, I smile and say thank you.  When I get a kudos for my cookie bars, I offer up the recipe.  Yet, when someone dares to say something nice about my study, leadership or writing I want to forcefully reject such talk as outrageous.

On the surface it seems like a form of humility, but it's actually false modesty and sometimes just rude.

Humility is putting the interests of others behind my own interests but false modesty is refusing to accept a gift of affirmation from other in a form of pretense.

When I cooperate with God and serve faithfully I should not be taken back when others are blessed--not so much for my fabulousness, but that how God works--through others. 

When the response is positive, that is evidence of sound ministry-in the Bible it's called fruit.  As long as I realize that from the perspective of a servant, giving people room to express appreciation is not arrogant.

It's sometimes hard to point to God as the one who really deserves credit-that can be a odd way of putting people off too.  It's like I would be shouldn't have complimented me that way, you should have given credit to Christ.  Yes, to God be the glory, but I don't need to scold or edit someone's kind words.  

It is not interpersonal relational calculus to accept another's appreciation in a humble way--it's not hard, so why do I make it hard?

I need to take the kindness when it's offered as a gift.   Open it, enjoy it, enjoy it and remember really it is a response to my faithful service to God and equipping from God.

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Roswell, GA
Loves to find the answers to three questions of a sound Bible study: what does it say, what does it mean, what difference does it make?