This past week my wife and I attended my company’s annual party. It was a the House of Blues in Dallas and was an all around blast. But what I enjoyed the most might be surprising. We haven’t attended the company party in a couple of years and there are several friends that I work with who haven’t seen my wife in quite some time. The universal reaction to her can be summed up in the words, “you look great!”. I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. She does look great and I tell her that often. But it was great to hear other people compliment my wife. I loved watching Bonnie’s face when she was repeatedly praised. There was a look of slight bewilderment mingled with a wide smile. Bonnie is not a vain person who angles or manipulates to receive compliments or praise but like all of us she does like to be appreciated and noticed. As her husband, however, there was no bewilderment on my face. I loved hearing others vocalizing the sentiment that is in my heart. Bonnie is beautiful, inside and out. She works hard to stay in shape and eat right and that does show up in her appearance (and in her sculpted arms which were highlighted by her pretty dress). But that appearance only accentuates the beauty that permeates her entire being. It is a beauty that more than anything else is the result of a heart that is reflective of the great love of God. And I am delighted when others notice and give her honor.
I think that may be because I have begun to learn that represents the heart of God toward His own Beloved, which is you and I. It delights the heart of God to see ones He loves be honored. When we notice the beauty in others and call attention to it, it doesn’t just please the person receiving the compliment, it delights the heart of God. When we relate to one another in a way that reflects the heart of God, honoring others and delighting in the honor of others becomes normal. How would our relationships change if we really grabbed hold of this? What would the dynamics look like if we looked for ways to give honor to others and delighted in the giving and receiving of honor? I think it would be wonderful. It would treat mistakes and disappointments differently, to be sure. It would soften the hard shell that I find myself walking around with from time to time for self-protection.
More than this, what if we grabbed hold of the idea that this is the heart of God toward us? Would it change the way we approach God? Would we hesitate to come to God when we screw up? Or would we run all the more quickly to God knowing that His presence is the perfect place for our screw ups to be sorted out? I am so grateful this is the heart of God for His people. And that as we grab hold of it, it can become more and more of our heart toward ourselves and others as well.