Where Praise and Criticism Come From

Found a good quote from C. S. Lewis about praising God. Lewis explains how he struggled with God asking for praise so often in the Bible. What’s up with that?

When people ask for praise it’s because they are arrogant and needy. Is that what God is? Lewis went on to think that praise is something you naturally do when you like something.

The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers praising their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game — praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.

But Lewis also then noticed something about the character of the ones giving the praise.

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits, and malcontents praised least.  The good critics found something to praise in many imperfect works; the bad ones continually narrowed the list of books we might be allowed to read.  the healthy and unaffected man, even if luxuriously brought up and widely experienced in good cookery, could praise a very modest meal:  the dyspeptic and the snob found fault with all.

Praise came from humble and balanced people. God isn’t asking for praise because He needs it; He asks for praise because it means good things from those who can do it.

Yes, God is infinitely deserving of praise, but we’re too stupid to know it. People who do praise God have figured something out. By seeing the bigness of God, they have also seen their smallness.

Humility is a great virtue. Humility means good things are going on in a person. Lewis sums up by saying:

Except where intolerably adverse circumstances interfere, praise almost seems to be inner health made audible.

Lewis grants that there are times when you can’t praise, when things are “intolerably adverse.” But they are rare occurrences.

If we are too quick to criticize, it means there are things wrong inside us, we are not internally healthy. People who always find fault with what others are doing, people who always hate a movie when others all liked it, one who can never be kept happy, is in a bad place spiritually.

Can you be humble enough to compliment something, or do you have to be a snob and show your superiority?

Praise is something that flows from a heart that sees how happy we are to have a God like ours. A proper view of Him, His salvation, His faithfulness to His Word, changes our view of life and all that it is as well.

Humble people praise; proud people tear down.

This is meaningful to me because I find fault too quickly.

See, I did it again. Ah, yes.

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