"Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." – Proverbs 16:24
I recently posted a particularly goofy photo of my wife and our cat on Instagram. Friends and family "liked" it, and a few commented on it, affirming its goofiness. It was all fine and good. Then, another comment threw my day off a little bit...
"Awesome shot! Great job" a random account posted.
It wasn't at all a negative comment. In fact, if we wanted to split hairs, I guess you could classify it as a "compliment..." but I knew it actually wasn't.
I suspected this was disingenuous because, to be honest, the photo that I took wasn't a particularly awesome shot. It wasn't a photo of some endangered bird skirting the edge of Niagara Falls at sunset... it was my wife with bed-head snuggling our wild-eyed cat. Funny? Yes. Awesome shot? No. So why say that?
The short answer: people like compliments. I work in social media, so I run across these types of comments a lot. It was from a random account that doesn't follow me or my wife, or have any connection with us whatsoever. I suspected it was a comment that this user copy/pasted on random photos a hundred times or more that day. It's a technique people use to fish for more exposure on their profiles, and more followers. Do you know why they do it? Because it works.
We love that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when somebody compliments us. It can instantly turn our day around. So naturally, we're drawn to those people who give out compliments freely. That's the trick, though: sometimes compliments aren't freely given. Sometimes they come with an agenda. That's why this particular comment threw me off a little bit. I saw the agenda. The words were empty. Meaningless. It was worse than if they had said nothing at all.
This got me thinking: if it's annoying to hear empty compliments from strangers, it's devastating to find out somebody close to us is being disingenuous. I think it can be easy to forget sometimes how much stock we actually take in what others think and say about us.
I love this week's scripture because there's nothing more naturally sweet than honey. When we are given encouraging words that we know are genuine, they nourish us. Kind words build us up, and we can't get enough.
I can tell you with confidence that there is no shortage of "compliments" circulating on social media. Do you know what we need more of? Kind words. The difference being intent. Join me in sharing a kind word with somebody today. Be a little more intentional-go beyond the "Awesome shot!" with me today.