“WISDOM OF LIVING (45) COMPLIMENTS” By Pastor YAU
Text: Colossians 1:3-8 March 26, 2006
1) Some sincere compliments: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints---the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.”—Apostle Paul
2) Compliments, a lost art: For hundreds of years in many cultures, east or west, people were taught when they were still small to express appreciation and gratitude in words and gesture we now call compliments. Compliments are due when others have done something good or right, achieved something of value or virtue. When we receive compliments from people, it gives us a warm feeling and inner glow of satisfaction. In the world we live today, people tend to find fault on others, more finger pointing than hand clapping, Christians need to learn from Paul, the apostle, on how to appropriately give compliments to others when the time, place and purpose are right.
COMPLIMENTS IN THE BIBLE: Compliments are not products of man or civilization. Recognition and compliments are everywhere in the Bible. Let us see where and how they were used in ancient times.
1) God commended the faithful: In the very early history of man, God recognized and complimented the righteousness and good work of Noah. Among all the evil people of the earth at that time, Noah found favor in the eyes of God because he was a righteous and blameless man who walked with God. (Genesis 6:8) God showed His compliments in calling Noah to build the ark and saved his family from destruction. God commented the strong faith and obedience Abraham had in his willingness to sacrifice Isaac, and promised Isaac with extraordinary blessing. (Gen. 22:1-18) God also recognized the faithfulness of Moses, talked to him as to a friend (Ex. 33:11), recognized him by name and showed him His presence. (Ex. 33:17-23)
2) God commended the humble: (I Kings -15) The story of asking for wisdom instead of riches by King Solomon has been a classic lesson for generations. Because of his selfless act, God recognized Solomon’s acts of virtue and bestowed on him many blessings on top of wisdom Solomon had asked. God is never blind in seeing good deeds. In due time and right place, He will recognize and commend those who act His way.
3) Jesus commended acts of love and faith: (Matt. 26:6-13) This anonymous woman who came and poured her expensive perfume on the head of Jesus when He was having a dinner at the home of Simon drew criticism from the disciples but compliments from the Lord. He even commanded the disciples to remember this woman and her act of love wherever they proclaimed the gospel. He also praised the strong faith of the Canaanite woman who was seeking healing from Jesus on her daughter possessed by demon. (Matt. 15:22-28)
4) Paul commended a good man: (1:4-7) In his plea on behalf of Onesimus, a slave of Philemon, Paul commented on all the good things Philemon had done as a faithful believer both to the Lord and to his fellow believers. Paul confessed that he has been greatly encouraged and refreshed by the good deeds of Philemon. It is very Christian to recognize genuine good works God’s people have done either to God or to people.
GUIDELINES ON COMMENDING: There are people who will go to either extreme: discrediting or flattering. Instead of discredit good deeds of others or make up something from nothing for sole reason of flattering, compliments given properly and genuinely are good things to do. Here are some guidelines in giving compliments:
1) It must be fact based: Compliments given without the support of truth or facts are simply empty flattering. When good deeds are performed, compliment is due. When compliments are given without the support of facts, it is worse than hypocrisy. It doesn’t reflect the truth of the person compliment is given to, it may cause you your reputation of honesty and sincerity.
2) It must be for the recipient: Compliments given for selfish purpose is worse than flattering. Anytime when we praise someone for good deeds it must be for the good of the other person. Everyone could use some encouragement and affirmation. Words of good will and encouragement mean so much to all of us in helping us do better and more.
3) It must be genuine and sincere: No one owes anyone a compliment. You don’t have to say anything if you don’t feel or want to. But if you say something of a compliment, it must be genuine and sincere. You must have that feeling of appreciation before you say anything of praise to another person. Empty words are worse than not say anything. People can tell if you are sincere. It is an offence to all people involved to fake a compliment.
4) Best to have spiritual purpose: Not all compliments have spiritual effects. But it will be the best if compliments are given to bring glory to God, bring out the best of Christian character and spiritual service and giving evidence of spiritual quality. Apostle Paul gave most of his compliments to his readers for that purpose. To bring honor to people with compliments is honorable. To bring honor to God in giving compliment is spiritual.
COMPLIMENT MEANS A
1) It means you pay attention and care: while the world and most people in it don’t care what and how others live or do things, a compliment given properly means you care about that person and how he/she does things. Showing care is something we miss nowadays. Most people are too busy to care about others. Some don’t even care about their family and loved ones. The Bible tells us not just care about our own business we also have to care about others. (Phil. 2:4)
2) It means you appreciate: Showing appreciation is a lost art. Many people never learn to appreciate the good deeds of others much less showing appreciation. Every good work, either done to us directly or indirectly, has positive impact in our life because we live in this co-existing world. Compliments are due when others do something good or noble to someone or the society or the church.
3) It means recognition: You may say that Christians do good should not for recognition and that is correct. No one should have that intention in do good. But it is good to recognize others when they do good thing to you, to God, to His church and others. While many in this world are good at finding fault on others, Christians should be good in finding some good in others.
4) It means you want to build them up: Each compliment given properly and sincerely is an important building block you help lay on that person to build him up. We all understand the destructive power of vicious criticism on people especially on children compliment has constructive power of building them up. Recognition, affirmation and appreciation are all encouraging acts helpful in building lives.
1) Fill your heart with positive attitude: In Phil. 4:8, Paul encouraged us to fill our hearts with “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if any thing is excellent or praise worthy…” when we are filled with these positive elements of life, we will commend others on their good deeds.
2) Be generous in recognizing good deeds: Many people are quick to judge and slow to reward good works, much less to give credits for that. We need to recognize the power of compliment and the effect of that in building people up for good work.
3) The most important compliment: When we face the Lord in heaven one day and hear Him say: “Good and faithful servants…come and share your Master’s happiness.” (Matt. 25:21)