“You were a great host tonight,” I told Katie after our guests had gone home.
“I know, I’m amazing,” she replied.
As a parent, I’m always trying to find the right balance between building my children’s confidence and chipping away at signs of conceit. After hearing her latest comment, it was time to do the latter as I reminded my oldest of what Jesus said in Luke 14: “Do you remember the moral of the story about not taking the place of honor at a wedding banquet and instead waiting for the host to move you to a better seat?”
“People who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” Katie paraphrased.
“That means you’re supposed to wait for others to build you up,” I lectured.
“I did wait for you to compliment me.”
Katie had a point. I initiated the praise. What was wrong with agreeing with me?
Sometimes I think we confuse self-esteem for self-love and a lack of it for humility. How many times, for example, have you heard someone put herself down after receiving a compliment instead of just saying thank you? How many times, for the record, has that person been you?
I read once that hurting people hurt people. While this probably explains why all of us at one time or another have been guilty of tearing others down in a weak attempt to build ourselves up, it doesn’t excuse Christians for thinking that disparaging themselves will somehow make God look more divine.
We don’t have the right to put down anyone who was created in His image, including ourselves. What we do have is an opportunity to take God at His word and every compliment as a reminder that He thinks we’re amazing … and so should we.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well – Psalm 139:14a