“Hey, I dig that shirt!” “Cool bike!” “Nice shoes!” “I like your glasses!” “That’s a cool sweatshirt!” “Love your school spirit!” “I like your hustle!” “Very nice purse! It’s very large!”

Those are the types of exclamations that you would likely hear enthusiastically offered by Brett Westcott and Cameron Brown if you walked past Wetherhill Lab of Chemistry on the campus of Purdue University on Wednesday afternoons between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. That’s where the civil engineering major and the management major, respectively, began stationing themselves last Fall for a weekly appointment to shower passersby with words of affirmation and encouragement. They were quickly dubbed The Compliment Guys. Though there were some early skeptics who sought to attribute ulterior motives to their actions (picking up girls, a fraternity initiation ritual, a sociology project, etc.) most people came to accept Westcott and Brown for what they proposed to be: just two guys who wanted to interject some positive vibes and good feelings into a world dominated by bad news, a national economy in the doldrums, and campus life filled with test anxiety, research pressures, social complexities, tuition, and fees. It worked. People started rerouting their trips across campus to have a smile put on their face and a little pep put in their step. Word about The Compliment Guys quickly spread beyond West Lafayette, Indiana, and Westcott and Brown did the circuit of nationally televised morning news programs, appeared with Oprah, and are concluding a tour of major U.S. cities. All of this resulted from two undergrads with a simple agenda: take some time every week to spread a little sunshine.

It’s not a bad mantra to follow. I’m not suggesting that we all become Pollyannas, ignore the harsh realities of this world, or refrain from having the “hard conversations” that life sometimes demands. But, could we lighten up on the negativity just a little, or, better yet, a whole lot? We rag on everyone from the President to the pizza delivery guy, church leaders to checkout clerks. We celebrate sarcasm and have elevated insult to an art form. Doesn’t Scripture teach us better than that?

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear,” (Ephesians 4:29).

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person,” (Colossians 4:6).

I wish that more Christians were known as The Compliment Guys rather than be noted for our judgments, critiques, and condemnations.

Nice laptop! Excellent speed on the keyboard! Is that an iPhone? Cool! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! Have a great day! Jesus loves you! Seriously!

P.S. Check out The Compliment Guys at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QShPNcjgtfs

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