Let another praise you

Posted on April 30, 2008 · Posted in Parenting, Proverbs

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
         someone else, and not your own lips.”
—Proverbs 27:2

Karen asked the following question in response to an earlier
post.

I find that my children often point out the good that they do.
While I do thank them at that point and express how their good blessed me, what
words should I use to make sure they do not crave the praise of man? Something
to the effect of…"Yes, I am so blessed by your cleaning up without being
told, but even more, Your Father in heaven is pleased at what you have done.
Seek His praise instead of mine." Do you have any suggestions?

Good question! You’re on the right track with your concern. It
is true that we want our children to please God instead of man, but the parent
child relationship requires special handling. Let’s look at a couple of principles
to hold in balance when we think about this goal.

 

 

  • God commands children to obey their parents in the Lord.
    (Eph. 6:1) The way that God instructs children to please Him is to
    honor and obey their parents. So for a child, pleasing parents is pleasing God, as long as the parents don’t require a child
      to sin. You don’t want to confuse or discourage your child by rebuking the
    genuine pleasure he finds in obedience. Psalm 119:47 says for I delight in your commands because I love them. Recall
    Tedd Tripp’s teaching that obedience brings the child to that place of
    safety. Therefore, you can rejoice with your children when they obey
    because you are both obeying God. As a parent, you gave godly
    instruction and your child obeyed that instruction. 
  • Instead
    of directly questioning a child’s motives (people-pleasing vs.
    God-pleasing), you can teach another biblical principle that addresses
    your concern:

Let
another praise you, and not your own mouth;


         someone else, and not your own lips.”
—Proverbs 27:2

The principle that God doesn’t want us to praise ourselves
is usually easier for a child to understand than the distinction between
pleasing mommy and pleasing God. The two are not necessarily in conflict, after
all.

As you explain the principle of not
praising ourselves, you can easily show how our pleasure in obedience can turn
into pride and self-glorification. In that context, you can explore the issue
of people-pleasing:

“You
know,  Shelby, everyone wants to be noticed and praised  sometimes. Do
you sometimes do good things in front of other people,
just so they’ll see how good you are? I know, Mommy does too,
sometimes. And if
no one notices, we want to tell them what we did, so they’ll praise us!
But
that’s not why we should obey. We should be happy to obey even when no
one else
sees us, because God sees our obedience, and we want to please him.”

After you have taught this principle and discussed it
thoroughly, it will be natural to refer to Proverbs 27:2 when your child begins
to praise herself. Then, don’t forget to be the “someone else” who offers
praise when it’s appropriate!

Karen, thank you for your question and encouragement. Let me
know if this is helpful.


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