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Apples of Gold

Every woman enjoys a compliment.  Whether it is on her complexion, her cooking or her character, a word of commendation brings brightness to her eyes.  Approval lifts the heart and lightens the load.

Appreciation of a compliment is not exclusively an American enjoyment.  Praise is a benison in any culture.  Ethiopian women beam when someone exclaims over the beauty of their children, their delicious cooking or the flavor of their coffee.  A Japanese proverb says, "One word of praise can warm three winter months."

A man likes approval, also.  Watch him 'light up' when you say, "Don't you look nice!" or "What a beautiful car you have!" or "You've done a great job!"

The Psalms are filled with words of praise to God.  In the New Testament, when the Pharisees rebuked Jesus for allowing His followers to shout His praises, Jesus said, "I tell you . . . if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out," (Luke 19:40 NIV).  God revels in the tribute of those who love Him.

People, made in God's image, revel in appreciation, as He does.  When we deny deserved commendation, we stunt our friends' and family members' spiritual and emotional growth.  Children who are rarely or never praised, may grow physically, but their spiritual and emotional maturity may not fully develop.  Verbally honoring the achievements of our loved ones helps them become, emotionally and spiritually, the persons God intended them to be.

Each of us will be blessed if we learn the art of giving a sincere compliment.  This may not be easy.  Perhaps we did not learn as children to give a good word.  The "sacrifice of praise" means praising God, and others, when we don't particularly feel like it.  We can practice on our family, giving them affirmation, whether our spirits are up or down.  Applauding family members daily makes it easier to praise God.  Honoring God makes it easier to hoor our children, our spouses and our friends.  Practice makes perfect.

How do we begin?  Learning to say a sincere "Thank you" is a good way to start.  Thank a gentleman for holding the door for you.  Thank your muddy son for the bouquet of dandelions he has grubbed from the wet spring grasses.  Thank the neighbor lady who offers to watch the kids.

Begin at home. How long has it been since we have thanked our husbands for the bountiful provision they earn for our families?  And the children?  Of course, they leave finger marks on our freshly washed cabinets, throw wet towels on the floor and leave dirty clothes trailing from the hamper.  They muddy the floor, shout too loud in the house and spill food at the table.  But they do some things right.  Do we thank them when they hang up the towel, or remember to take off muddy shoes at the door or when they use soft voices?

A church reader board once proclaimed:  "Praise loudly -- blame softly."  When we learn the art of giving sincere credit at home, it will be easier to compliment the bag boy for his 'carry out'; the hairdresser for an especially nice coif; the neighbor on his garden and the store clerk for her courtesy.

To paraphrase Solomon, one of the wisest men in the world:  "A (compliment) aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver," Proverbs 25:11 NIV).


Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Oh, Slyvia. You really hit that one out of the ball park. Great post and so true. With just a small effort we can make people feel good about themeselves and make the world just a little better place to live. And making others feel good, also makes us feel good. Thanks for the great reminder of what being a Christian is all about.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Yikes, I meant to type: themselves. Oops. Guess I'd better proof read my comments! Again, wonderful post, Sylvia.

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