Worship God by the Pleasure of Praising Others
“Try and look for the good in others” is a statement many people will have heard from childhood, yet in society there is a distinct lack of this sentiment.
Great persons commend great things. The greatest individuals commend the greatest things. They search for that which is most commendable and then set out to magnify it with speech, enjoy it with praise, and invite others to join them in glad admiration by calling attention to its superior qualities.
Why were we made? We were created to commend. It’s why we have tongues and lips. We are a speaking species, and speech is for the purpose of lauding the laud-worthy.
When a person is struck with awe and appreciation, what does he do? He affirms.
Affirmation is what awe and appreciation arouse. We were made for this. We were made to be awed and made to spew appreciation for what awes us most.
Awesomeness either terrifies us or pleases us. If it’s terrible, we shrink back and cry out. And if it’s wonderful, we perk up and overflow with approval. Either way, we say something. We might shriek, or we might rave. We can’t help it.
In the political realm it seems as if the way to progress is not by praising the good in someone else but by highlighting their deficiencies. A quick glance at social media will see people emphasising the faults of others.
The scriptures do command the believer to praise other people and to do that with the right motive. Praising, or affirming, others does bring glory to God. As we see something of God in other people, we can praise that.
Undoubtedly there will be something praiseworthy in every person. Mankind was created to reflect God’s image.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Being created in the ‘image of God’ means that something of God could be seen in man. It was not that he would be ‘as God’ but that some of the attributes of God would be seen in him. Sadly, when sin entered the world, it had a devastating impact. The consequences of Adam’s sin meant that man was separated from God and the image was deformed. But the image has not been destroyed. Even in the worst of people something of the ‘image of God’ can be faintly seen. For example, there will usually be love and care for someone.
“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
Nobody likes a bragger. The one who is always boasting of his accomplishments, reminding people of his latest successes, never letting us forget his past victories. Such a person dominates every conversation with news of the great things that he has done. He is addicted to praise, and if no one else gives it to him, he will freely praise himself.
Mark Twain famously said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
Everyone, including spouses, extended family, colleagues, customers, and even your boss, loves to get sincere recognition and praise for a job well done. When we hear something we like, dopamine is released in our brains — the chemical associated with feelings of joy, pride, satisfaction and well-being.
The Bible commands us to do so, and provides examples for us of how and why to praise others.
In ancient times, a God-fearing woman was to be praised at the city gates. “But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30).
It is a good and necessary thing to find reasons to praise other people to the glory of God. Even the Corinthian believers, who had their fair share of problems, were praised by Paul.
“Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (1 Corinthians 11:2).
Paul had rightly admonished them for their ungodly behaviour and tolerance of sin yet he could still praise them for all that was praiseworthy.
As you reflect upon this it should cause you to think, “Is my inclination to look for something to praise or something to criticise?”
When I praise another person, it should be with the ultimate purpose of bringing glory and worship to God. If there is anything praiseworthy in what someone has done it is because God has given them the gifts, talents or resources needed to perform that action. This is true for all people, believers and unbelievers.
When my unbelieving friend shows compassion and care for a sick person there is a demonstration of God’s image. They can be rightly praised when I tell them that it reminds me of God’s care for the helpless. This certainly praises God and may lead on to a gospel conversation.
The parent who intentionally praises his children for tidying their rooms can teach them that God loves order, and works for the good of others.
Praising others for displaying something of God’s image requires initiative and intentionality. All of us need help in this area. It requires a focus of the mind to think on what should be praised and how I can give that praise.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Those who receive praise are refreshed and invigorated. This does not mean we should not admonish or constructively criticise but it does mean healthy God-honouring praise is a ministry every believer ought to be involved in.
James reminds us that, if we know what to do but then do not do it, that’s sin. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
May we look to the Lord to give us the wisdom and the grace to praise whatever we can, with the right words and the right motive.
Humility and meekness are marks of the true believer in Christ. We dare not confuse these virtues with weakness, for humble believers are strong in Christ. These virtues, instead, reflect an honest appraisal of one’s talents and weaknesses. They lead us to rely on other people when it is necessary, and they encourage us to continually cast all of our cares and needs upon the Lord. Are you humbling yourself before the Lord this day?
Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys for a Joyful Life - Jeff Cavins
The Joy in Praising God - Charles Spurgeon
Created To Praise - Derek Prime