Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Tyranny of Praise

We are social creatures, and the opinions of others mold us. We derive our self-definition or self-regard by how others regard us. If others treat us like garbage, we will begin to feel and smell like garbage. If they treat us with dignity, we will begin to feel that we have some worth.

However, this is also an inescapable tyranny. Jesus said,

·       "I do not accept praise from men… How can you [Pharisees] believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:41-44)

We will never be free from the need for feedback, praise, or self-definition. Instead, it is a question of, “From where do I derive this necessary commodity.” We tend to derive it from friends, family, and even from foes – especially our boss, who exercises a tyrannical power over us.

How do we free ourselves from these opinions? By becoming more concerned about God’s opinion – where we find great comfort and confidence - than man’s! Here is what He says:

·       “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.” (Isaiah 41:9-11)

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