In C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms , there is a chapter called â€œA Word about Praising.â€ Lewis, who couldnâ€™t for the life of him figure out why God summoned his creation to praise him, since it sounded a bit self-preoccupied. He couldnâ€™t come to terms with this â€œperpetual eulogy.â€
Then he came to understand that this is what it means to be genuinely human before God.
Which leads Lewis to a reflection on humans praising other humans and I’d like to reflect myself on this one.
“I had not noticed,” Lewis says, “how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least.” Why? Because “praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.” And one more: “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
I have worked with folks and have known folks who simply paid no one, or rarely anyone, compliments for fear it would detract from the glory of God. These sorts are the cranks Lewis is talking about.
So, here’s a taxonomy. Think of it in terms of your spouse, your children, your family, those you work with, etc..
Are you miserly in your praise?
Are your measured in your praise?
Are you magnanimous in your praise?
Lewis suggests that learning to delight in others and give them the compliment they deserve tells us something about our own health.