How well do you take a compliment? It used to be that every time I was paid a compliment by someone regarding my preaching, I would respond with something like, “It’s not me, it’s God. He gets the glory.” That was until a well-known preacher, who happens to be a friend of mine, offered a mild rebuke.

While the preacher thought my attitude was right in bringing glory to God, he also told me that I should learn how to take a compliment. When faced with a similar praise, he always says, “Thank you very much.”

Do you find it hard to take a compliment? Sometimes compliments can be harder to handle than insults. When someone accuses us of something, our natural impulse is to fight back. But when we’re faced with a good word, we don’t really know how to take it.

Truthfully, the words of praise from those we minister to are often a ministry unto themselves. God brings the kind words of others as soothing balm for our souls in a tough, negative world.

I’m glad this particular pastor changed my thinking. Now, instead of projecting a sort of false humility, I respond to compliments much more genuinely. I simply say, “thank you,” because I am thankful for praise. That sermon, article, or book took hard work and study, and it is encouraging to know that it helped someone. And for you, recognition of your hard work on a project or service will encourage you to keep going.

Next time you’re complimented, don’t run from those kind words, but instead think of them as a gift from God.

Kind words produce their image upon men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth, they quiet, and they comfort the hearer. — Blaise Pascal

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder