“A man is tried by his praise.” (RV) – Proverbs 27:21
Will you ponder that word? How does praise affect you? Are you lifted up by it or are you humbled by it? Does it make you feel, “I must be a special person”, or “How little the one who speaks like that knows me.” Does praise wrongly affect you? Does it make you more careless or more careful? Do you take it to yourself, or lay it at His feet, to whom alone any good in you is due? Because what do we have that we have not received? Those, and many other questions will come to your mind when those words come to mind–“a man is tried by his praise.” When God allows you to be tried by personal praise, what comes out of that crucible–gold or dross?
If a person is tried by personal praise, I think they are equally tested by the way they received blame. When someone tells us of something wrong in us, how do we take it? Do we wonder if someone spoke to them about us? Do we make excuses or blame someone else?
Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing.” (John 8:24) This word strikes deep. It cuts through all self-praise, all pleasure in praise, and taking home to our hearts what others say of us. That subtle thing–spiritual flattery–I believe the only safe place for praise of any sort is in the dust at the foot of the Cross. I am not speaking of the encouraging word that a captain speaks to his soldiers, or a worker to his fellow-workers, or a teacher to children. I am thinking of that deadly thing of of the praise of man that brings a snare and not a blessing. It is the acceptance of that which wrecks the soul. Our Lord utterly refused it, ignored it, and turned from it. It was less than nothing to him.
– Amy Carmichael