“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)
Jesus called us to do unto others what we would have them do unto us. (Luke 6:31) He did not intend for this to be a “give to get” strategy. Through our own needs we become sensitive to the needs of others.
Paul generously commended his spiritual children. Yet, he received little by way of reciprocation. The more abundantly he loved them, the less he was loved (2 Cor. 12:15). Surely Paul would have appreciated a greater expression of love from those he fathered at Corinth. His heart was enlarged toward them, but their hearts were constricted toward him (2 Cor. 6:11-13). He admonishes them for their lack toward him: “… For I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.” (2 Corinthians 12:11)
Is it a sin to enjoy receiving love, praise and appreciation from those who ought to give us such? Absolutely not. What is a sin is to walk in the pride of life which loves the praise of men more than the praise of God. It is a sin to forgot that all that we have, and all that makes us different from others, is the gift of God to us. It is a sin to be so enslaved to men’s opinions of us, that we become despondent, bitter, or retaliatory when they don’t give us the “reward” we believe we deserve.
While we should not be those who seek the praise of men, we should be those who generously acknowledge the good we see in others. We do not sin when we bless others with a proper word of recognition. God calls us to give honor to whom honor is due. Don’t be afraid to bestow the blessing of praise on those around you who would be delighted to hear it. What feels good to you, feels good to them too. Don’t make others go fishing for compliments – surprise them with a word of praise.