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