The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

07/16/2009

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Compliments All Around


"We are not trying to please men, but God....You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover greed.....We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else" (1 Thess. 2: 5 &6).

The technical term for one who openly flatters and praises but in reality connives and instigates is a sycophant. For those of you who remember the Leave It To Beaver series, which ran on TV from 1957-63, Eddie Haskell comes to mind. He would always say to grown-ups what he thought they wanted to hear, in flattering terms, and then go upstairs and make fun of Beaver and generally scheme. Today's verse tells us that Paul did not look for "praise from men," or use flattery that was not warranted. He has a "bottom line," doesn't he...."We are not trying to please men, but God."

That being said, there is nothing wrong with a sincere compliment. There is absolutely nothing wrong with complimenting people. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to do so. Encouragement is one of the best ways to let someone you know that you care about them. It is one of the best ways to get the best from our children. It is called positive reinforcement. Most of the time people react well to it. We know that they don't react well to constant negatives. What Paul is talking about here is flattery for flatteries sake, with ulterior motives.

I found five people that Jesus complimented for all the right reasons. He did not misplace a compliment. Why? I'll let the Bible answer. "He did not need man's testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man" (Jn. 2:25).

1. Jesus complimented Nathaniel in John 1:47. About Nathaniel He said, "Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false." Jesus saw one who was worshipping in honesty and sincerity and He said exactly that about him.

2. He complimented the Roman centurion in Matthew 8. About him Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Jesus paid this humble man a great compliment.

3. In Matthew 11, Jesus said of John the Baptist, "there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist in the kingdom of heaven." He simply told everyone that John was GREAT!

4. In one of my favorite Bible moments, Jesus pays a compliment to a poor women. (Mk. 12:41-44) This woman put into the collection two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth, this widow has put more into the treasury than all the others." He praised her for her liberality.

5. Two chapters later in Mark, Jesus pays a compliment to Mary.(Martha's sister) While He was reclining at the table of Simon, she poured an jar of very expensive perfume over His head. He told all of those who witnessed the event that she "has done a beautiful thing."

As far as I can see, none of these people who Jesus complimented did things for any other reason than that they were the right things to do. When people do good things it is OK to compliment and encourage them....Jesus did!

Have a wonderful day....Go about doing good...Love mark Phil. 4:11

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