When a colleague approaches you with some critical advice, to take the sting out of what they are saying, it is sometimes termed constructive criticism. They may begin their criticism with a praise but after the perfunctory remarks, launch into a diatribe of what your problem is.
We have all been there, and, with rare exceptions, do we leave feeling wonderful about ourselves. But what happens when we are praised? If rightfully deserved, a praise from another person can bring a smile to our face and imbue us with a warm glow. It may invigorate and inspire us to do more. And it may also inflate our pride and ego, thinking ourselves more special or gifted than who we truly may be.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.
I believe praise is sometimes a more stringent test of our character than criticism because it can quickly lead to pride. And pride is at the heart of so many sins that have been recorded in the Bible. From Cain murdering his brother Abel to Saul despising the success of David, pride can eat away at our very character and subtly direct us to an ungodly stance toward others and ourselves.
The wisdom of the Bible is penetrating. We may prefer praise to criticism, but is this a greater test of our character?
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.