Friday, November 8, 2019

Song of Songs: The Beauty of Compliments

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves” (Song of Songs 4:1).

Low self-esteem is regularly stated to be one of the most pervasive emotional conditions of women today. It is not only women, however, who suffer from bad self-images; men do as well.

As a “manual of love” the Song of Songs shows us the importance of compliments, and surely true praise and valid compliments will do wonders to restore a sense of real self-worth to the partners in a marriage. For the most part, the Song of Songs is simply an exchange between two lovers, back and forth, one compliment after another. The Song is a celebration of the good points of the other person.

How many marriages begin on a basis of compliments and end in an exchange of insults? Your spouse has the greatest power in this world either to affirm you or to destroy you. The comments of people we love weigh heavily upon us, either for good or for bad. Studies have shown that the compliments and criticisms we receive as children from those we respect have a great deal to do with shaping our later lives.

The Song of Songs also shows us that we should openly receive true compliments. We should believe the good things our spouse and friends say about us. In 1:5 the bride frankly says, “Dark am I, yet lovely.” She goes on to say that her darkened skin has come from working in the sun, but that in spite of this she knows she has true beauty.

I pointed out yesterday that the Song is not to be regarded as a simple allegory of Christ and the church, but since the church is married to Christ, we can gain useful insights into our celestial marriage to Him. In our praise we compliment Him; but notice in the Bible that He also compliments us. We were made as the very images of God, and we’d better not despise that, in spite of the problems sin has introduced. Also, notice how Paul, the Groom’s spokesman, addresses the trouble-torn bride in 1 Corinthians 1:1–9. The bride is sanctified, holy, enriched in every way, lacking in no spiritual gift, preserved to the end, and destined for blamelessness. Only after affirming believers in this way does Paul go on to point out some areas in which improvement is needed.

Are you the kind of husband or wife who compliments your spouse, or are you mostly critical? How about on the job? In the classroom? In the church? The principles of the Song apply in marriage, but they are also applicable in every one of our covenantal relationships. Affirm and encourage one another.