While Scripture consistently teaches people to humble themselves (2 Chronicles 7:14, Luke 14:11, James 4:6, James 4:10, etc.), we also find God lifting up and praising people in His Word. For example, God’s Word takes an entire chapter to praise the woman of Proverbs 31:1-31, culminating in this phrase: “Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”
God also praises Job in Job 1:7-8: “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Note that both the Proverbs 31 woman and Job feared God. Their good qualities brought glory to Him.
Praising man and praising God may seem inconsistent at first, but we ought to praise others when the good they do reflects the glory of God.
Sam Crabtree, author of Practicing Affirmation wrote, “Good affirmations are God-centered, pointing to the image of God in a person. The only commendable attributes in people were given to them. Everything is from God, through God, and to God so that in all things—including the commendable qualities in people—he might get the glory: “‘Who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:35).
When we see good qualities in others and intentionally don’t praise them, it is sin (James 4:17).
As Sam Crabtree noted in Practicing Affirmation, a smelly skunk tends to work alone, while a flock of geese move together, honking encouragement to one another.
Whether a believer or not, when you see those around you exhibiting qualities that reflect the glory of God, praise them! It is a Godly practice to follow (1Timothy 4:7).