ADDICTION TO HUMAN PRAISE

Thursday, 4th Week of Lent              

            “I do not accept human praise.”

            Once I heard a priest-formator telling seminarians: “If people applaud you, great; if they don’t, great. Regardless, do not look for human praise. It is the guillotine of saints.”

            Howard Stern is a very popular American radio and television personality, producer, author, actor, and photographer. In an interview in Rolling Stone, Stern admitted to being addicted to human praises. He admitted that he needed to hear, on a daily basis, praise – that he was doing a great job and his works were awesome. He needed to hear from others that he was the best. This is what he said about it: “The curse is I take it so seriously. I gotta know, ‘Do you think I did a good show? ‘Are you satisfied?’” “That’s the neurosis and that’s the source of all problems for me.” Stern’s addiction to human praise cost him his previous job; it cost him his health; and it nearly cost him his mind.

            Jesus talks about him not seeking for and accepting human praise. He is not conditioned by human praise. And as such he is not disturbed or hindered by human opposition and contradiction.

            Seeking human praise is a hindrance to believing in Jesus. True faith in Jesus gives all glory to God and none to ourselves. That is the nature of saving faith. When we come to Jesus in faith, we surrender the right to claim any glory ourselves. We cease to seek for human praise. St. Paul tells us that God owes us nothing, but he will glorify us in due. Faith comes to Christ destitute of any claim to be glorious or to be praised. So, the love of human praise is a great obstacle to faith. It must die.

            Another reason the love of human praise is contradictory to faith is that the glory of Christ is the satisfaction of our souls. And when we are satisfied with Christ, the enslaving power of the craving for human praise or human glory is broken. Broken by the power of a superior satisfaction. (John Piper)

            When you have tasted the beauty of God and the approval of God in Christ, the addiction to human praise and approval is broken. And you are free.

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