Too often, people are not ashamed to say unkind words to others. More and more people speak without even thinking. They do not care whether they could hurt others with their words.
But when it comes to appreciating another person, there, we hold back.
Why it it that people are not ashamed to mindlessly spout bad words but think twice about saying kind compliments to others?
Is it really too difficult to say words of appreciation?
Even when it comes to work, we usually fill our mouths with criticism, and we justify them by saying that they are “productive criticism”. But can only criticisms be productive? Can’t compliments and words of appreciation become productive, too?
Words don’t just have to be technical. We are not robots after all. Neither should we all speak like AIs.
Words can also be inspirational
And words, most of all, can be a source of healing.
People are often not ashamed to speak bad words. Why should we be ashamed to speak good things? Is it not cool to be grateful? Will it not look good on us if we learn to be appreciative of the works of others?
It seems that our eyes are often blind
We cannot see what’s beautiful and good. We see only what is ugly, deficient and bad.
Sometimes I feel that it could be because we’re not purposely looking to see praiseworthy things. We don’t see because we never seek to see.
What if God only looked for our faults, too?
What if all He could ever see are our sins?
“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?”
– Psalm 130:3 (NRSVCE)
Thankfully, for us, God is not like that
Our God may be just, be He is also merciful. He may know all our sins, but He also recognizes our good intentions.
“The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
– Psalm 51:17 (NRSVCE)
God appreciates every little effort that we do to draw near to Him
He takes whatever gift we could offer Him and blesses them, and appreciates us for the love and faith that we show.
Let’s take a look at how Jesus appreciated the following people around Him:
1. The effort of Zacchaeus
Zacchaeus was a small man, both in holiness and in physical stature. He was not only small physically, he was among the tax collectors shunned at that time and considered to be among sinners.
But Jesus saw him! He could have passed by without seeing. He could have ignored him. But He did not.
He saw his efforts to draw near and repent. And Jesus honored Him by calling him out and staying at his house.
“Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”- Luke 19:2-5 (NABRE)
2. The silent devotion of Mary (sister of Martha)
Initially, it would seem as though Mary was a lazy and unhelpful sister to Martha. Instead of helping with the chores, Mary sat and listened to the Jesus.
But Jesus knew Mary’s heart. He recognized Mary’s devotion to Him, how she listened with all sincerity and devotion to His words. Mary wasn’t doing nothing. She was accompanying Jesus who just visited their house. She gave importance to His message and showed reverence for His presence.
So when Martha seemed to shame her sister, the Lord Himself came in defense of Mary.
“Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.’” – Luke 10:40-42 (NABRE)
3. The donation of the poor widow
Have you ever felt looked down upon by other people because of your poverty? Have you ever felt small because of the humble amount of money you could donate to the Church?
Don’t be ashamed because Jesus does not upon the amount you give, but upon the greatness of your love for God and neighbor.
Social media can celebrate the large sums of money being donated by the wealthy. People can praise those who look good for their large donations to social and charitable organizations. But Jesus never forgets even a single coin you give out of pure love and sincerity of heart.
“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.’” – Mark 12:41-44 (NABRE)
People often fail to appreciate what’s good with their neighbor by focusing only on what’s bad or lacking. They may even be motivated by feelings of pride or envy in doing so.
But God is different. He appreciates every good thing that we do no matter how little they may seem to be to the world.
Have you ever felt unappreciated recently? Go to God and let Him shower you with His love!
You may also want to read “Why Is There So Much Hatred for Evil and So Little Love for Good?”