“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.”
Karen asked the following question in response to an earlier
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.
of directly questioning a child’s motives (people-pleasing vs.
God-pleasing), you can teach another biblical principle that addresses
another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips.”
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
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
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!
that’s not why we should obey. We should be happy to obey even when no
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.
4 thoughts on “Let another praise you”
That was a great question and response. I think I struggle with gentleness and grace in correction. Though I’m not angry, I can be a judge and jury over my children. I don’t want them to come away feeling like they can never please me or that I don’t identify with their struggle with sin. It’s helpful to have an example of how to address a wrong attitude, but not “directly questioning” their motives.
Emily, one way to maintain biblical balance in parenting is to keep a sharp gospel focus. You don’t want to bring your children to where you are. You want to take them to same place that you want to go – the cross. Proverbs 16:20-24 is great passage to measure your communication with your children. Thanks for your comment.
Thanks for reminding us:
“Don’t forget to be the “someone else” who offers praise when it’s appropriate!”
As an “old school” farmer kid, who worked constantly “because it was right;” it has been a challenge to balance teaching about joyful obedience regardless of recognition, and actually giving the recognition when deserved.
Any further suggestions about how to “walk this tightrope?”
Thank you for the detailed post in response to my question, Jay. I forgot that obeying me is obeying God to my 4 year old. And I appreciated the reminder to offer praise when it is appropriate. The example you gave about Shelby was a great one because it showed her how Mom does seek the praise of man. I have to remember that I am 40 years old and I am still learning how to resist the praise of man. So I need to be graceful in my expectations.
I am learning a lot. Thank you for your time.