Watch "Complimenting Strangers" (copy that into your browser)

Ok, so cheesy video, but how much time do you spend complimenting people? I find as a leader and a minister much of my time is spent figuring out how to build people up. The Bible calls it speaking life in Proverbs 18. You literally have the ability to speak life, speak Holy Spirit given words into people that empower them, bring them joy and closer to God. 

Or you can just say whatever comes out of your mouth. Wasted words, or worse, what Proverbs 18 calls speaking death. 

Complimenting people takes work. There is a difference between flattery and genuine positive speech, and people know that. Finding positive attributes in men and calling to them, drawing them out and encouraging them to  used on them takes work. In the video linked to this article, these people are just saying sort of meaningless generic compliments, almost like pre canned pick up lines. That's not easy to do either,  people aren't used to being built up, being complimented. Often if you do, they are jaded, and say something like "OK what do you want now?" We tend to call it kissing ass rather than what it is, godly speech. 

Many people are hurting. Many people suffer. Daily life is a struggle for many.  The stats on the percentage of the population suffering from social anxiety, depression and loneliness are staggering. Speech is so negative, so rude. We cut and slice with our tongues. We wound and hurt people.  We drive them far from the Father when we wear His name, and our speech causes pain. Proverbs 12:18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Genuine compliments and positive speech take work.  First, you've got to have dealt with YOU. If you're so wrapped up in your own problems, or just talking about yourself and what's going on with you, you'll never hear or notice what's going on with anyone else.  The devil can keep you so wrapped up in yourself that you miss listening to others or hearing what their struggle is. 

Second,  you have to find what genuinely matters to others. It might be their shoes on their motorcycle that open a door for you to show genuine interest in them, and give them a compliment. The compliment may just be that you noticed. 

But even more deeply, recognizing the traits they have that are important to them,  or better yet,  the traits that will empower them to serve Jesus. Are they a good leader, do they speak well, are they quick with a kind word, do they make people laugh and put them to ease? When you take a moment to let them know you've noticed it,  they can be more aware of how they can serve the Lord. More aware of what strength they need to build on to advance the kingdom. 

You might say "James this sounds like a lot of humanism and vanity. What's the point?"

I don't know how you grew up,  but some people didn't have a dad.  Some people aren't used to having a man say anything positive to them or speak into their lives. Some people have been abused, wounded and broken down. Christians sometime act like they are supposed to run up to perfect strangers and wallop them over the head with criticism and opinions. But if you want to truly minister to people you have to gain their ear first. Some people are just waiting for a touch from the Father. 

And that touch may just be a compliment from you.

James Disciple Johnson 
Natl President and Founder 
Disciple Christian Motorcycle Club 

Are You Complimenting People?

January 29, 2015 — James Johnson

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