|When you throw dirt at people, you are only losing ground. A dear woman at a church had earned a reputation as a kind-hearted person because she always had something good to say about others. One Sunday, the pastor of the church appointed a guest preacher to preach during his absence. The visiting pastor preached one of the worst sermons the people had ever heard, and everyone wondered what the kind-hearted woman would say to the pastor as she left the church.
As the pastor shook the woman’s hand, he thanked her for coming to the service. She smiled and said, “That was one of the best Scripture texts I have ever heard.” She didn’t lie to give her compliment. She made no attempt at flattery. She spoke sincerely from her heart; and her simple, heartfelt words reached the guest pastor’s heart.
While frequent compliments may lose their value, a simple, sincere, specific, and unique compliment will build a bridge that may establish a lasting relationship. Think about each of these traits that our compliments should include.
* Simplicity – The compliment doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated. Just state it in clear terms which keep the emphasis on the other person.
* Sincerity – People can sense when you are genuine in your praise. They can also sense insincerity. Give spontaneous compliments from your heart, and they will be warmly received.
* Definiteness – Compliment others about specifics, such as the quality of their work, good decisions, spiritual development, moral character, and personality.
* Uniqueness – Instead of giving overused compliments, praise a trait in the other person which is often overlooked or underappreciated.
Each of us can say something nice about others. While the world uses compliments to win friends and obtain favors, Christians should use compliments as expressions of our love for one another. I challenge you to think of ways you can encourage others in your family, church, workplace, and community through sincere compliments. Make your praise public. Write a note of appreciation. Your kindness will be a welcome alternative to criticism.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.