How To Respond To Compliments

Posted by David Santistevan on 27 April 2015

"Worship was awesome today!”

“No it wasn’t. God is awesome.”

“Man, you did a great job leading us.”

“No I didn’t. Praise Almighty Jehovah on High!”

Compliments. They come and they go. We love to hear them but we don’t know how to respond to them.

If you are in any form of public ministry (which is basically everyone in ministry) you will be complimented. You will be looked up to. You will be someone’s hero.

To some degree, everyone has a fan club. How do you respond to praise without it getting to your head?

Humble Self Promotion?

Is it OK if we have some fun for a moment?

Nobody sets out to be self-absorbed.

We don’t sport T-shirts that say, “I’m awesome! Worship me! Recognize all the wonderful things that I do!”

No. We know better. We know that if we flat out try to be self absorbed jerks, nobody will like us. There’s a better way. I call it the “Praise God” method of self promotion.

Here’s how it works:

You probably do something well – whether that’s lead worship, preach, greet, write, clean, wipe butts, or sleep. And if you do it really well, you probably get recognized for it.

Picture this with me.

Someone comes up to you and says, “wow, you are an amazing worship leader!”

There’s two responses here:

“Duh. Tell me something I don’t already know” (inherent in that sentence is a petition to resurrect the word “duh”. Are you in?).
“Praise God.”
Think about the repercussions here. If you go option 1, that person might not like you any more. I wouldn’t either. If you go option 2, you’ve just increased your awesomeness.

No longer are you just an amazing worship leader. Now, you are an incredibly humble, amazing worship leader. They may even follow up the “amazing worship leader” comment with a “and you’re so humble about it” comment. Total win :)

In all seriousness, we are familiar with the awkwardness surrounding compliments in church. It’s like we just don’t know how to respond. Probably because there are verses in the Bible like 1 Peter 4:10-11:

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

In everything, God needs to be glorified. It’s not an ideal to strive for. It’s a command to obey.

Life is about the glory of God. Every good thing in us is because of Him. So we don’t want to be arrogant and boastful, receiving compliments from people right?

Well, there’s more to the story.

Why People Compliment

Do you know why people compliment you? It’s probably pretty rare for someone to really worship or idolize you (unless you’re Justin Bieber, of course. Hi Justin, if you’re reading this).

Most often I believe people are simply wanting to acknowledge that they had a meaningful encounter with God and thanking you is a way for them to complete the experience. They feel better about themselves and better about what happened.

It’s a way for them to process what God did in their heart.

All you have to do is thank them.

Typically, I’ll say, “Wow, thank you so much. That is so encouraging to me. And thank YOU for worshiping with us. We couldn’t do what we do without people like you going hard after God with us!”

Me? I tend to be publicly humble and privately prideful. I don’t walk around talking about myself because that’s a turn off to people. I don’t trumpet my own awesomeness because that’s lame. But secretly I want to be known as humble. I want to have a reputation for it. Gross, right?

But living for the glory of God is less about what you say and more about who you are. It’s not so much about convincing people of your heart as it is having a heart for God.

I mean really cultivating one.

Doing stuff that nobody sees.

Having confidence in God’s opinion of You before you step into the spotlight.

Loving others, encouraging others, drawing attention to others and not yourself.

Doing your work in the strength that God supplies…so God gets the glory.

Be a certain kind of person…don’t just use big words and flowery responses.

Thank them and get back to living quietly, boldly, honestly for the glory of God.

I’d love to hear from you on this. How do you respond to compliments? What is your knee jerk reaction? Or, what are some terrible responses you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments.


Originally posted on Used with permission.

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