For some reason, there are some people for whom “praise God” and “congratulations” are synonyms. For whom words like “Thank you so much,” or “Good job,” get replaced with a hearty “Thank you Jesus!”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people shouldn’t practice their religions (regardless of what I think about those belief systems). If you want to praise God, go right ahead. But think about the context of the situation and who you’re saying it to. When you say things like this to a nonreligious person in these types of situations, it can be very irritating at best and even downright offensive, because it feels like you’re refusing to acknowledge their own contributions to these positive outcomes–their own hard work and achievement.
So without further ado, here are some times when it’s not appropriate to say “Praise God.”
- When your writer child says, “I finished writing my novel!”
- When your toddler says, “Daddy, I went potty all by myself!”
- When your friend tells you they got that doctorate they’ve been working towards for so many years.
- When your other friend tells you how proud they are of the machine they built.
- When your shy child says, “I met someone and we’re engaged.”
- When your uncle says he worked his butt off and convinced his boss to give him that raise he needs so that he and his wife can finally start their family in a good home.
- When your doctor uses their medical training to heal you successfully.
- When a fireman does his job and puts out your kitchen fire.
- And last but not freaking least, when your wife says “Dinner’s ready!” (Seriously, my dad does that last one every. Fucking. Night. I have a very hard time keeping to myself how badly I want to tell him to just thank Mom.)
The appropriate response to most of these is “congratulations,” or “thank you.” Things like “Great job!” “You deserve this” or “All that hard work paid off,” are pretty good too.
But “praise God?”
How about recognizing when people have success? How about praising them first? If you’re religious, you can praise God in your own time, but this? This is a time to be with your family. Your close friends. To support and praise the person who loves you enough to choose to tell you about their success. To thank the person who did something for you, whether it was performing a service or doing you a favor. Don’t deflect that moment of human interaction by making it about your religion. Actually love your loved ones. Thank the people who help you. Give credit where it’s due.
What do you think about this list? Agree? disagree? Maybe there’s something you would add to it? Feel free to share your thoughts. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.