by Kathy Collard Miller @kathycmiller
Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Proverbs 31:31 NASB
I’ve often been perplexed as to how to answer when someone compliments me about my child, especially as she’s now an adult. Of course, I’m thrilled my child is being acknowledged, but it feels like I am being invited to stand on the edge of quicksand and not know if I should step out or step back…or stand still.
No wonder hearing my friend’s words feel uncomfortable. Do I take credit? Do I try to convince my friend I actually wasn’t that great of a mom? Do I point out my good choices or my bad actions? How do I credit God even when I did depend upon His empowering to grow as a mom? Will I come across as humble or proud depending upon what I say?
In those moments, I feel paralyzed and confused.
If you’ve ever felt similarly, you and I can take encouragement and courage from an interaction Doctor Luke recorded.
While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that carried You, and the breasts at which You nursed!” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and follow it.” (Luke 11:27-28 NASB)
The woman’s comment is both a compliment to Jesus’s mother and to Jesus himself. She is saying, “Your mother must be so happy to have a son like you. You are wonderful.” She might even be insinuating Mary must be a special kind of mother to have raised such an amazing son who had the courage to correct the Pharisees in front of the crowd and deliver a man from an unclean spirit (Luke 11:14-26).
Interestingly, during Jesus’s ministry, Mary, along with Jesus’s half-siblings believed he had lost his mind (Mark 3:21). We can only wonder if in truth Mary was embarrassed to have a “son like him.” Thankfully, the truths told to Mary at Jesus’s conception and birth won out, and Mary and several of Jesus’s half-siblings believed in Him as Savior and became a part of the early church.
Jesus’s response to the woman in the crowd indicates He didn’t depend upon her recognition of His goodness, or how He was a blessing to His mother. And Jesus didn’t go into a detailed explanation about whether His mother was a good mother or not—or even whether He was a great son. Only upon His Heavenly Father’s acknowledgement.
Jesus’s dependence upon His Father’s recognition can strengthen us. We don’t have to be puffed up with pride hearing compliments about ourselves or our children. Jesus’s focus is on those who follow God’s Word. The change in other people is what thrills Him and is the ultimate blessing. If we can have the same focus, we will be strong in not depending upon the comments of others—whether positive or negative, especially about our offspring.
Of course, we should acknowledge the comments from others. This is not wrong. God most likely was prompting our friend to bless us through compliments about our child. We can courageously receive His support.
So what to do? Courageously reply with a simple sentence and joyfully receive God’s encouragement. Ultimately, the best compliment we and our children will ever hear is God’s encouragement, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Copyright and excerpted from Heart of Courage: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to show how Scripture reveals God’s wonderful nature, is relevant to daily life, and empowers us to trust Him more. Her 59th book was published in March, 2022, and is entitled: Heart of Courage: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a 10 lesson women’s Bible study for groups and individuals. Kathy is also an international speaker, wife, mom, and grandma. She and her husband, Larry, (co-author on many books), live in Boise, Idaho, and speak together on marriage. They were high school sweethearts and married in 1970. Visit Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Join the conversation: What have you found to be the best way to respond to someone complimenting you because of your child?