While reading today, I came across John 4:55 “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
Suddenly, I could hear my mom’s voice reading, and see illustrations from the fable “The Fox and the Crow.” It’s funny, until today, I always thought the name was “The Crow and the Cheese.” I think I assumed the story was only a lesson about what you stood to lose if you believed false praise. Rather than, “Deliver criticism with a compliment,” or “Being kind will get you what you want…”
Either way, I still don’t trust praise. I believe I crave approval as much as anyone, but whenever a person is very complimentary—I quickly assume the compliment giver is somewhere between insincere and manipulative.
Occasionally, I have a hard time giving compliments, too. Even when I notice things I admire, I have to remind myself to verbalize it. All this from Aesop’s tale? Maybe.
Praise and compliments are not evil. When motives are sincere, they can be a way to love each other. (And it sure helps when your critique partners point out something good in the midst of your shredded manuscript!)
But according to John 4:55, accepting praise or glory from each other without seeking it from God changes you. Jesus asks “how can you believe since…” as though their ability to believe in God was altered. Unless accepting glory from men was merely proof, that they didn’t believe.
Besides belief in God, what other abilities are affected when you seek men’s praise over God’s?