WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 31, 2020
TOPIC: WHEN TO PRAISE AND NOT TO PRAISE
BY T. O. BANSO
“In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery” (Proverbs 28:23 New Living Translation).
Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 11:2, “Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you” (New King James Version). In verse 17, he said to the same church, “Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse” (New King James Version).
Continuing his rebuke of the Corinthians, concerning their abuse of the Lord’s Supper, he said, “What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:22b New King James Version).
Paul founded that church. In this letter he wrote to them, he praised them for remembering him in everything and following the teachings he had passed to them. But he didn’t praise them for doing what was wrong: some Corinthians didn’t wait for others while eating the Lord’s Supper; thus, some were hungry while others were drunk. Paul told them the truth, irrespective of what they might feel. He loved them, but he wouldn’t clap for them for doing what was wrong.
Don’t flatter people. Tell those who’re accountable to you or you’re mentoring, training or leading the truth. Don’t tell them they’ve done well when they’ve not. Not even because you want to encourage them. That’s not motivation. If you say someone is OK when it’s not true, how do you expect him/her to improve or change?
The scripture, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matthew 7:1 New King James Version), is not applicable here. That will be applicable when you’re talking about hypocrisy. That is to first remove the log of wood in your eye before you remove the speck in another person’s eye. How will you help people to be better off if you don’t evaluate or judge their performance?
Don’t withhold praise when people deserve it. But don’t praise them when they deserve correction or rebuke. This is not the same as being judgmental. We’re talking about correcting people so that they can be better. Commend them for doing well, and when you correct them, they’ll appreciate it. However, always correct them with love; don’t destroy them.
Avoid flattery. Proverbs 28:23 says, “In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery” (New Living Translation). Also, everyone must learn to receive correction or constructive criticisms with appreciation. Proverbs 15:31-32 says, “If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding” (New Living Translation).
According to Proverbs 12:1, “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction” (New Living Translation). Proverbs 10:17 says, “People who accept correction are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore it will lead others astray” (New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to live a praiseworthy life. Send into my life people who can tell me the truth, not those who will deceive me with flattery. Holy Spirit, help me to listen to constructive criticisms so that I will be at home among the wise. I shall humble myself and accept correction; I shall not ignore it.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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