So today I was talking to an awesome friend in the food industry who was joking about verbal tipping. You know what that is, right? The customer says, "Hey, the food was awesome, you're the best waitor ever," and then leaves you a couple of bucks or better yet, a gospel tract. Of course, in this example, the verbal tipping is not such a great thing.
However, I got to thinking about this and realized that as believers, we could certainly stand to practice more genuine verbal tipping with one another - giving each other heartfelt, genuine compliments. About 6 months ago, I noticed that I was really struggling with gossip - not being intentionally mean or unkind, just getting carried away in my conversations with friends. There it is - I said it out loud - I have confessed to you all. (Does anyone really read this stuff?) Then I began to listen in on other people's conversations and heard a lot of, "Did you hear that... ", and it was almost always followed up with a negative comment.
So I have gradually felt convicted and tried to start practicing verbal tipping. It has had pretty mixed results. On the negative side, people are not sure what to say back when you give them a real compliment - more than "I like your haircut." They also seem to be uncertain about whether I am being genuine or not and sometimes even seem embarrassed that I am impressed by them. On the positive side, I have found that even people who portray tons of confidence and have great talent need reassurance that they are being noticed and appreciated. They in turn feel wanted and valuable. The verbal tipping has opened so many doors for me to be able to share God's love with others and to be able to hear people's doubts and uncertanties and pray for them.
I don't know how long it will be before my new habit of verbal tipping replaces my old habit of gossip. I've heard that old habits die hard and this is one that about the time I think I've won, I catch myself doing again. And I do know that the verbal tipping certainly has to be genuine and heartfelt so that it doesn't seem fake and overdone. However, I want to attempt this challenge of loving people with my words. I want to learn to see other people's strengths and how God values them.