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The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel is senior pastor of First Congregational UCC in Dubuque, IA. She is a speaker and author of several books including "'Spiritual But Not Religious' Is Not Enough."

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Lillian Daniel: Shut Up and Take a Compliment

March 16, 2014

"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers..." - Ephesians 1:16 

When Paul wrote these kind words to his friends, it was in a letter. So when they read it, they would have to take it in.  

I imagine, if these people were as good and kind as Paul seems to think they were, it would have been hard for them to hear these words in person. They probably would have done what many of us do. They would have jumped into the compliment with a rebuttal, saying something like, "Aw... Paul... we're not all that. In fact you're the one who is really special."  

Or, they might be thinking, "If you really knew me, Paul, you'd never say that. Why just the other day, I did this very unkind thing...."  

Or, they might even take offense and argue, "Stop trying to butter me up, Paul. What's your real agenda? Because you couldn't possibly mean those nice things you are saying."  

Do you ever find yourself answering a compliment with a rebuttal? Next time, just say "thank you."  

And if you can't say that, then say nothing.  

At least by saying nothing, the kind words will get to linger in the air and you might actually get to hear them as the blessing they were meant to be. That may be why Paul gave his compliments in a letter. 

Prayer 
Dear God, help me to take a compliment as a blessing, and not as a case to be disproven. Amen

 

From UCC's Still Speaking devotionals. Visit UCC.org


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