The Danger Of Compliments: A Guest Post From Emily Gurnee

November 23, 2013

A guest post from Emily Gurnee, a sophomore at Purdue and Wyldlife leader in Greater Lafayette, IN. 

As a Wyldlife Leader, most of my contact work happens in the lunchroom at the middle school. When I sit down at a table, I may only know a few girls, if none at all. As a female leader, I typically compliment something about a girl’s outfit or accessories. It’s an easy way to make her feel special and ask her where she got the item to keep the conversation flowing. However, last month at our Leadership Summit I learned the importance of complimenting more than just a teenage girl’s appearance.

Today’s society has knit female worth so tightly with female appearance. Are you the right dress size? Do you wear enough makeup? Do you straighten your hair? Are you good enough? So many middle school girls (and high school girls and adult women), look in the mirror every day and hear a resounding, “no”. Her real worth and inner beauty is choked out by a world that says she is only “beautiful” if she fits a certain unachievable mold. 

As followers of Jesus, it’s our duty to speak truth into the lives of people around us. I have learned how important it is to look deep inside middle school girls and compliment the amazing inner beauties God has given them: their personality, sense of humor, passion, talents, intelligence, friendliness, gentleness, and laughter. Each and every one of them deserves to know they are created uniquely; not a single person is exactly like another. They deserve to know they’re worth dying for.

While letting all this process, 2 Corinthians 5 kept coming to mind. “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” 

We should no longer value people based on what the world says is valuable; rather, by what Jesus says is valuable. It doesn’t matter if the person doesn’t wear the latest fashions, or drive the coolest car, or if they have disabilities. We are all broken. We all desperately need something that we cannot achieve on our own. We need Christ. In Him, we are complete, we are whole, and we are truly ourselves.

This is how I want my ministry as a Wyldlife Leader to look. I want to view middle-schoolers (and everyone, for that matter) as Christ sees them.  Broken, but beautiful. Empty, but being restored. I don’t want my heart to be calloused or to limit my compliments to only physical beauty. I want to have a heart like the Father’s, in the hopes of a middle school girl seeing something different me. Not that she would see me, Emily; rather the love of her Savior who is constantly pursuing her and telling her how valuable and beautiful she is. That is where she will find true life and worth; in the arms of Jesus.

Thanks for sharing Emily! 

Day 4 in ‘The 12 Days Of Spikeball Giveaway’

You can win 2 sets of Spikeball today by answering this question in the comments below or on Twitter or Instagram.

If Katy Perry wrote a song about Spikeball and Young Life, what would it be titled? 

Join the Conversation

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter that keeps you updated with the most helpful and relevant content.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.