Tuesday, May 23, 2006

more about the evidence

"...for they loved praise from men more than praise from God."

Last night, one of my teen-agers asked me if it's wrong to like praise from other people. I didn't think so, because Jesus tells a parable where he tells people to do thus and such. "Then," he says, "you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests." (Luke 14.10)

That is, Jesus seems to assume that we all want to be honored and praised by others, and he doesn't rebuke that desire. He is realistic about who we are and what we want, and he'll work with that.

My teen-ager's next question was this: "How can you tell if you love praise from men more than praise from God?"

One sign, I thought, was if we hid our faith from others. Do our friends and neighbors and co-workers and fellow-students know that we are christians? Because it's not really all that cool to be known as a christian these days.

There was another question, about how to tell if you're seeking the praise of others, versus whether it just comes to you.

I just thought of this answer now, but it's based on something we heard in a sermon. Here it is: if you're afraid that the praise of others is an idol in your life (or if I'm afraid of it), then we should deliberately hide some good deed that we did. Leave a tip in the jar when nobody's looking. That sort of thing. Jesus said something about this too, come to think of it:
Sowhen you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
Matthew 6.2

No comments: