Praise profusely!

Praise profusely!

“You were looking nice the other day,” said my friend. We had met on an occasion that was not conducive to conversation, and she had thoughtfully reserved her compliment for a later date. I cherished her words. Like most people, I value appreciation and am blessed to know those who impart it.

“Praise, like sunlight, helps all things to grow,” said Rev. Croft M Pentz, pastor and author. Through my long teaching career, I have found that when I commend my students they perform better. For my part, I am motivated to work more effectively, when I get the proverbial pat on my back.

During His brief ministry, Jesus Christ rarely received acceptance, much less acclaim. The fact that He was disparaged, however, did not prevent Jesus from bestowing praise on others.

When a woman pleaded with Him to heal her demon-possessed child, Jesus put the supplicant to a test. On her passing it adroitly, by boldly reiterating her request, the Lord admired her tenacious trust. “O woman, your faith is great!” He exclaimed warmly, adding, “What you want is granted.”

Praise is important. Don’t we extol the Supreme Being? In a hymn based on a poem by St Francis of Assisi, the sun, moon and elements are urged to exalt their Maker. Another beautiful song begins: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!.”

Admittedly, flawed mortals do not merit such adoration. Praise of God is in an entirely different league from the everyday compliments that we exchange. The sort of praise a human being can reasonably expect ranges from approval of one’s outfit to acknowledgement of one’s achievements. Our spirits soar when someone applauds us, so let us, in turn, be generous with praise.

This does not mean that we should utter insincerities, praising unreservedly without discrimination. The 18th-century writer, Dr Samuel Johnson, once said: “He who praises everybody praises nobody.” We should not indulge in fulsome flattery but neither should we refrain from proffering perceptive praise that serves as a morale-booster to others. As Dr Frederick B Harris, the eminent neurosurgeon, declares: “There is no verbal vitamin more potent than praise.”

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