Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. 3 John, verse 12.
Do you like getting compliments? Of course you do; of course I do. My self-bruised ego thrives on praise, compliments, and attention. Of course (again) the apostle wasn’t talking about you or me. He was talking about Demetrius, who was a member of the church where there was so much discord because of a particular member’s divisiveness. Demetrius’ example was a good one to follow.
John wasn’t talking about us, but he could have been. Let’s hope, then, that Demetrius and the people around him did the same thing we should do: thank God. A friend of mine works to keep humble by saying “all glory to Jesus” (or “AGTJ”) instead of accepting all the praise for himself whenever someone gives him a compliment. We should do the same.
We should do this because, when people compliment us, they’re complimenting something good, and all that is good is from God; verse 11 said this, and verse 12 applauds it. Demetrius’ proper response might have been “thanks, but I’m only doing what the Lord taught” or something like that. Once again, we should do the same.
It’s a healthy and good thing to accept praise from other people. It means that we have used our God-given talents well. Perhaps the best, most polite things to say are “thanks” or “you’re very kind” or something like that. Yet we shouldn’t ever stand there on our own without giving credit to God as well. We should follow up that response with “AGTJ” or something like it to include Him who gave us the talent – and the friends, the compliment, the means by which to exercise our talents, the talents themselves, and everything else you can think of – so that we avoid ‘getting the big head.’
Please understand: I’m not saying this to be preachy. You’re my friend and loved one, and I want you to receive the praise and compliments that your good attitude, hard work, and Jesus-facing actions deserve. I simply say these things because I think they’re what John would have said if he were in our conversation. More than that, I wonder if Jesus Himself wouldn’t use this time to remind us of them. Be thankful and happy for the blessings of friends, compliments, and satisfaction, yet always be ready to thank God more for all that is, including the good will of others. John spoke in complimentary terms of Demetrius because Jesus taught him how to do so. Ditto for us here today.
Jesus, all glory to You. Thanks for people giving compliments and for making all in my life possible that they would even want to do so. You are kind, generous, and caring.