What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Good News for All You Compliment-Haters, Too

So yesterday's post we talked to people-pleasers who sought out affirmation--there's something redeemable there, but the bad stuff has to die first and then it has to be re-directed towards its' intended target.

But fishing isn't the only way people relate to compliments. Some people avoid affirmation and compliments like my kids avoid bed-time. I think most people at this end of the spectrum would say that they attempt to brush off compliments because it feels awkward. They're just never quite sure what to do with them.

But I think that the reality is deeper. I think fundamentally people have a hard time accepting compliments because the compliments feel like lies.

Whatever the compliment, whatever the affirmation, the inner voice can find a dozen pieces of evidence to point to the contrary. The good things can't be true--look at all the ways that I've failed, all the insidious things inside of me or ways that I've completely screwed up.

We hate compliments because we hate ourselves. At the core of it, we can't imagine that there's anything genuinely worth celebrating or affirming. We're a mess. We know it. The person who speaks a kind word to us is either lying or just doesn't know us very well.

And here, the same Scripture from 1 Peter 1 speaks words of corrective freedom to you, oh affirmation-avoidant ones! Trials come so that your faith might be tested. What proves to be genuine "will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Here is the one, true celebration of you that cannot be brushed off. The faith that will be revealed will be pure, refined, and tested. And more importantly, the One who speaks words of celebration over you is neither a liar nor is He in the dark about "the real you." The one who knows you better than you know yourself will speak words of affirmation and celebration about who the real you always was, is, and ever shall be.

And so, at last, here is the word of affirmation that will not allow you to squirm, blow it off, or duck. It will settle deep in your soul--indeed, it will have a settling effect over the entirety of your soul. No more secret doubts or self-hatred. You can be at rest. This rejoicing over you will be the most true thing ever spoken about you. And it will be with you into eternity.

The failures and struggles of the night will be over. Dawn has broken. And we will laugh and sing and dance and celebrate one another and the goodness of Jesus for centuries and centuries together in the glad presence of our good and generous Father.

Given the Father's extravagant nature in rewarding even the most meager acts of faith with words of exquisite kindness and joy forever more, perhaps it would be a legitimate and holy spiritual discipline for those of you who hate compliments to learn how to accept them.

It'll be good practice for what's coming up ahead.

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