28 July 2009

Responding to man's praise

"Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”-Jeremiah 9:23-24.

As I talk with others about our call to adopt, I often hear, "you are such a good person" or "I am so proud of you." When I hear these accolades, I do not know how to respond. No matter what I say, it somehow becomes about me. Replying with a simple "thank you" sends the message, "I appreciate your recognition that I am a good person." But adoption is not about me as a parent. Rather, adoption is about providing a loving home for a child and, ultimately, glorifying Christ and living out the Great Commission.

The irony is that even responding truthfully somehow becomes about me. If, instead of "thank you," I said "I feel God has called our family to adopt and I am just following His direction for my life," I appear self-righteous, because it implies "I am more in tune with God than you are." So I am left searching for a response that directs the attention away from me and onto Christ.

If I falter or fail to respond when you bestow unjust accolades, please forgive me. If I seem arrogant or self-righteous, grant me forgiveness in that too. I am still learning how to divert the focus away from me and to instead boast in the Lord.


Jon said...

Lately I've just been saying "I try" when people say stuff like that. I don't know if it sounds any less self-righteous or any less about me. I just figure it's much better than saying 'thank you.' It doesn't divert the focus to God but it at least somewhat doesn't show pride (or at least I don't think so). I never know what people think when I say this, though.

Genevieve said...

My response is, "It's the least I can do - it's such a small step to solving the problem". I feel like that communicates how I feel about the problem (it is HUGE) and that I don't expect any unusual praise for what I feel SHOULD be an ordinary decision.