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Praise and Popularity

“When we do something well, we want to tell others and be recognized. But recognition is dangerous—it can lead to inflated pride…Often those who try the hardest to become popular never make it. But the praise of people is not that important. Don’t spend your time devising ways to become accepted in the public eye. Instead, strive to do what is right, and both God and people will respect your convictions….How much better it is to seek the praise of God rather than the praise of people. Then, when we receive praise, we will be free to give God the credit.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 10:17,18, 2 Samuel 8:15) “Unless curbed by the fear of God that accompanies the practice of the virtues, spiritual knowledge leads to vanity; for it encourages the person puffed up by it to regard as his own what has merely been lent to him, and to use his borrowed intelligence to win praise for himself. But when his practice of the virtues increases concomitantly with his longing for God, and he does not arrogate to himself more spiritual knowledge than is needed for the task in hand, then he is made humble, reduced to himself by principles which are beyond his capacity.” (St. Maximos the Confessor) “Surely we should set aside our habit of taking credit for personal accomplishments and eliciting praise for the products of our work…Praise from others engenders sinful desire, while their condemnation of vice, if not only heard but accepted, engenders self-restraint…Do not become a disciple of one who praises himself, in case you learn pride instead of humility.” (Dynamis 8/10/2019, St. Mark the Ascetic) “When our praisers, or rather our seducers, begin to praise us, let us briefly call to mind the multitude of our sins, and we shall find ourselves unworthy of what is said or done in our honor.” (St. John of the Ladder) “It is fine to be praised by another, but not by oneself: “Let your neighbor praise you, and not your own mouth, “A stranger, and not your own lips” (Pr 27:2). However, one is tested when praised by others: “But a man is tested by the mouth of those who praise him” (Pr 27:22). Korah [Numbers 16], however, failed this test, for he “loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (Jn 12:43).” (Orthodox Study Bible, Numbers 16:3-4)

“The passion for popularity brings such injury upon those it masters that it shipwrecks faith itself.” (St. Gregory Palamas)

“We imagine that popularity somehow equals success in our lives, yet Jesus calls His disciples to give up the popularity of the world for the praise of His Father.” (Bill Gothard)

"…the “right” thing to do, in the eyes of society and family, is not always the right thing to do. Because the truth of God’s Kingdom is not always evident or popular, neither to our society or our family. There might be commitments or relationships that we entered, for example, before we embraced faith, or when we were ill-advised or simply unwise, -which God is now leading us to drop." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“The most deeply rooted of all spiritual passions is vanity. This passion, more than all the rest, masks itself before the heart of man, giving him pleasure that is often confused with the consolation of conscience, or even consolation from God. And it is exactly this passion that ferments the Pharisee. He does everything for the praise of men — others would witness his love for fasting, his almsgiving and his prayer.” (St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)

“We will only be able to be like the Good Shepherd when we relinquish our rights to be praised and noticed…Our goal should be to practice both forgetfulness toward ourselves and thankfulness toward others…” (Father Barnabas Powell)

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