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Christian Living

Just Say Thank You

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Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 16:18

I caught a lament on Rachel Blom’s Twitter feed last night, “One thing I dislike about ‘Christian culture’: you can’t really say you’re proud of an accomplishment without being accused of pride.”

I share the same lament.

We all know people that do this. They play a little verbal game. You say, “Wow, that was awesome!” And they say something like, “I give all the glory to God.” Or, “I’m just happy that God used whatever drivel I have to offer.”

It’s along the same line of thinking when people say, “I don’t work at a church for the money.” Um, so we should stop paying you? Cool! Of course you work at the church in exchange for money. Trust me, it’s a hard job and you deserve to get paid! So why do you say that? Well, because that’s what church people say.

These little Christianese expressions create an awkward exchange. As the person giving the compliment you are left feeling like you did something wrong, like that person doesn’t want compliments or to be recognized for their hard work.

The church, just like every subculture, has an array of cultural norms and mores which lead us to these verbal acrobatics. (List your favorites in the comments!)

But this one is particularly obnoxious. It’s not prideful to be proud of working hard and doing a good job. That’s simply acknowledging that hard work pays off, or that you’re using your talents to the best of your abilities, or that you are maturing… on and on. To not accept a compliment or recognition is actually a sign of immaturity and a lack of self-awareness.

With that said… I don’t think most people who do this really think about their words at all. It’s just something they’ve picked up along the way. I have friends that don’t even know they do it.

In our culture, when someone pays you a compliment, or recognizes a special talent, or takes the time to notice all the hard work you put in… Just say thank you. 

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

3 replies on “Just Say Thank You”

Big fat amen to this! It works both ways, Christians are bad at accepting compliments, but they’re also bad at accepting other people’s rightful ‘pride’ in their accomplishments. Why does being proud of something you did automatically make you guilty of the sin of pride? I can honestly be grateful to God and still be proud of my own hard work or successes, right? So let’s be thankful when people pay us a compliment and let’s celebrate the successes of others as well!

My take on pride: If what you accomplished yesterday still looks big to you today, you didn’t accomplish anything.

My take on working for money: I know a pastor who quit his lucrative job in the medical field to work for a church that can’t even pay a five-figure salary. You can’t tell me he’s in it for the money.

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