Have you ever noticed? It is such a hard thing to do: to simply say, “Thank you.” Why is that? I know that part of it is a desire to be humble – a misplaced desire (the desire is not misplaced, but it gets put in the wrong place). When someone compliments me on something I have done, or on a characteristic that they have noticed or experienced in me, why do I feel the need to minimalize that? Because I think that otherwise I am being proud, tooting my own horn. So I say something like, “It’s nothing really. I just threw that together.” Or something like, “This old thing? I just found it in a thrift store.”
It is often true. Maybe it is something that I just threw together. Maybe I did get for a really good price so that it looks expensive but wasn’t. Maybe it is something that is easy for me. But am I being humble when I mention that?
God gives gifts as He sees fit. We are blessed with certain abilities that others do not have. That is how we can help and serve one another. If we didn’t have different abilities, we would not need one another, we would not be a body. (Consider Oholiab and Bezalel in Exodus 31 and 1 Corinthians 12 about the body).
What I am actually doing is negating what the other has said. I am basically saying that they are a liar. That what they are saying is either not true or not correctly seen or not actually important. But that is not at all what I want to do! It isn’t what I mean to be doing! But it is what is happening.
On the other side, what do I do when someone thanks me for something? Too often I minimalize again. Perhaps I don’t know how to deal with the attention. Once again, I don’t want to be prideful. So I deny them their thankfulness. Of course that is not at all what I want to do, but when I minimalize their thanks, I am not being humble.
I have noticed that this gets in the way of my relationships. Maybe you have noticed that as well (in your relationship with me – or in your own relationships). But it doesn’t have to happen. We all learned as children some simple ways of dealing with these situations.
When I was a kid there were a few ‘magic’ words: Please, Thank you, and You’re welcome. Nothing has changed since I have grown except that I have gotten taller and older. God asks us to be thankful to Him. He has made us and knows how we work best. Thankfulness is what puts all into perspective.
Thanking someone is good, but it is the same when they compliment us. They have done something for us – given of themselves, opened themselves up to us. It is best for me and for him/her to simply be thankful. If you have been able to do something for another, or be something for another and he/she mentions this in a compliment – say, “Thank you.” It is that simple. If someone thanks you for what you have done or said or have been – simply say, “You’re welcome.” No more, no less.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18