How to Accept Compliments

Compliments, right?! How did something that should be so simple become such a headache? Not giving them – that’s easy. Everybody has gold inside of them. Just look for it and point it out and you’ve given a compliment. But receiving compliments?

Oh. My. Gosh. Becky. Such a headache.

Conventional church culture – or at least the culture of the past few generations – has taught us to never accept compliments because “that’s pride”. And pride is a quick way to get yourself burned. So instead, we sidestep compliments. We try to redirect the compliment to our team, or our spouse, or to the Lord. Or we completely negate the compliment by some type of self-bashing reply to “put ourselves in our place”. It’s funny to me that we can’t accept a compliment, but we sure can hand them out like cheap candy at a 4th of July parade. We’re all, “Don’t you dare tempt me with sinful pride BUT… I LOVE your shirt! The way it brings out your eyes is WONDERFUL!”

What kind of double standard is this? How messed up is that? That’s like saying to a drug dealer, “No thanks, I don’t want your narcotics for myself, but please, may I buy some to give to my closest friends and loved ones?” This logic is flawed. Either compliments are bad for everyone or they are good for everyone. It can’t be two ways. So please, allow me to clear your conscience…


Yes, the Bible says that without Christ we can do nothing, but with Him we can do anything. It doesn’t say anything in there about us sitting in a lawn chair watching Jesus do our work for us. Through His strength – His power – we still accomplish the things that we accomplish. There’s nothing sinfully prideful about recognizing that we’ve done well with a task. Need a biblical reference? Here:

Romans 12:3 NLT
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”

That verse speaks in two directions. Don’t think you’re better than you are. We’re really good at that. Then in the next sentence: “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves…” If you’ve done good, be honest about it!

I feel like we’ve spent too many years as Christians having poor self esteem because we’ve somehow believed that thinking well of ourselves is sinful. Jesus didn’t die on the Cross so I could have a pity party about how useless I am. God gave me gifts. Sometimes I use them well. That’s the honest truth. So the next time you finish a worship set, or a message, or a youth event and someone shakes your hand and says, “You did a great job here.” Be cool enough to shake their hand back, smile, and say, “Thanks man!”


Do you struggle with accepting compliments? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment’s section. Seriously! We’re all in this together.