I find in Scripture that we are to lift one another up, build each other up, encourage one another. I believe that expressing gratitude for a kindness or helpful act is a way of doing that. What happens when my thankfulness is dismissed by a comment like this or something similar?
I was a person who had difficulty receiving compliments due to feelings of unworthiness and failure. Once when someone gave me a compliment on an outfit I was wearing which I had made, I began tearing it down and sharing all the mistakes I knew about. The Father rebuked me and said, “Just say thank you.”
Today, I am not talking about hurting people who have difficulty accepting that they should even be alive. Today, I am talking about people that use their refusal to take a compliment or offer of thanks as a way to make themselves appear more righteous and by extension make you appear less righteous. In essence, I am so much more humble than you because I give God all the glory.
Anyone who has a relationship with YHVH knows the value He places on them. For God so loved the world - you, me - and made a plan for you and me and gifted us with talents, abilities, and purpose. What we choose to do with that is up to us. To say I have no part in how my created being accomplishes YHVH’s designated purpose and function is to deny the free will to choose.
I remember a time when I was overflowing with gratitude for something YHVH had accomplished through me. As I poured out my praise of thanksgiving, I heard Him speak to me - Thank you, with the emphasis on the you. It made me stop cold. Could My God and King really be thankful for me, for my choices of obedience? There was a tremendous and overwhelming sense of His pleasure in me. It was one of my most humbling experiences. And it lifted me up and gave me a sense of being appreciated like never before.
What would have happened if I had said to YHVH - Oh, no. Don’t thank me, thank yourself. It sounds ridiculous, right?
So what exactly happens when you offer encouragement, edification, gratitude and it is cut off with, “Don’t thank me, thank God.” “It’s not me, it’s God.” “God made it happen.” ?
The point of the “thank God” phrases is to reduce the person who has said thank you by implying that they are deficient spiritually. In these particular instances, pride is actually the problem. It is a belief that one is spiritually superior by pointing out what you are obviously ignorant of - that people should NEVER receive glory. The following Scriptures clearly show how false this is. In fact, YHVH himself praises the obedience of His servants.
Genesis 7:1 - YHVH clearly affirms/compliments Noah for being a righteous man.
1 Chronicles 29:25 - YHVH calls Solomon very great and majestic
Matthew 15:28 - Yeshua commends a woman of having great faith
Luke 9:17 - Yeshua marvels at the faith of the centurion
John 1:47 - Yeshua praises Nathaniel for not being a hypocrite
Of course, insincere flattery and praise of bad behavior is just as bad as deflecting sincere gratitude. Where is the balance? Love YHVH your God with all our heart, all your mind, and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. If we could just get a handle on this, everything else would fall into place.