Dealing with Praise

The book of Proverbs says: “A hot furnace tests silver and gold and people are tested by the praise they receive.” — Rick Cox

When you read the above proverb, it would be good to take notice how praise can have the same effect on a person as a hot furnace has on silver and gold. What does this mean? Let’s discuss the refining process for silver and gold. In order for silver and gold to be purified, it is placed into a furnace where the heat causes all of that which is not pure silver or gold to separate so that it may be removed leaving only the purist of silver or gold. The mined raw ore is heated to over a 1000 degrees at which point sulfide, carbon, and all other material will be separated from the pure silver or gold. The heat is part of the necessary process causing this separation. It ensures that which cannot withstand the heat will be removed while that which is only of the greatest value remains. Our lives are similar in that we may find ourselves in the furnace of life. Although this furnace has the potential to destroy, it is not meant for that purpose. The heat in the furnace is only meant to purify, not destroy. Likewise, the hard times, troubles, pressures, stresses, worries, drama, and the like we often face, are not meant to destroy us, they are meant to help us grow into a better person having refined qualities and character.

It is how we respond to the pressure cooker, life can and does provide, that will determine how our tomorrows turn out. We must learn to respond properly during this pressure cooker process in order for the resulting or corresponding action to respond to us properly. If our response is incorrect, the resulting reaction will not be favorable and the pressures will not reduce, but will in fact become greater. The quicker we learn the process, the quicker we can become our best; for when we recognize why we are subject to these pressures then our thinking will change. When we change our thinking then everything changes for us because we will no longer see these obstacles as something sent to defeat or destroy us, but to help us grow. Not only do we need to know how to respond to the pressures of life, we also need to know how to respond to praise. Both can have a negative or positive effect.

Just as pressures from hard times are used to test us, there is another test as well. Truly, we can be tested by the pressure cooker of hard times, troubles, stresses, worries-anxieties, drama, etc., for most of us are familiar with this type of test. We can also however, be tested by the praises we receive. Both hard times and praise can bring about negative or positive effects on our life. Apparently, as heat is used to separate the bad from the good, praise can do the same thing. As a matter of fact, I have personally seen people make it through the most hellacious hard times, being put down and belittled, only to come through with flying colors. I then witnessed those same people begin their climb through the ranks on their way to the top. Though they did great through the tough times, they did not do so well with praise. The praise went to their head with a disastrous result. The tough pressures, when they were down, were unable to break them, but the pressures brought on by praise did in fact wind up bringing about their downfall.

This is why you see so many in the professions of acting, singing, and other publically recognized vocations, where success winds up being more harmful than good. Handling praise is just as hard, if not harder, as handling the tough times in one’s life. Many of us are ok with handling our own hard times and issues. We are even ok with giving praise to others, but we are not ok with achieving success or receiving praise. This is why Solomon, the writer of the proverb above, says what he says about praise. Praise can test you in a manner that other tests cannot. Praise pressure can and will reveal weaknesses that troubles and hard times cannot. Praise can be a crucible, or cauldron if you will, that can expose what the opposite could not. This is why it is best not to think of yourself more highly than you should. Even the Bible says not to do so. When you do, you have set yourself up for a fall from which you may not recover.

On the other hand, when you view yourself no better than those around you; when you believe yourself simply a fortunate person doing the best with the gifts given; when you are able to give praise as well as receive it, then you will be responding to praise correctly and will grow from and through it. You will not allow it to become a destructive force keeping you from your dreams, for you will use it to assist in propelling you to a place where your example can be used to help and benefit others rather than living for self and looking down on those around you. That is what will provide one with a life of fulfillment. How you handle praise will speak to your level of character. It will speak to your humility as well as your benevolence to all mankind. Not only will those around you be blessed, you will be blessed in return for what you give out will come back to you again. It is the boomerang effect.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox