29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. (Luke 1:26-38)
The angel Gabriel didn’t say anything negative or derogatory to Mary. He just told her to rejoice because she was highly favored of God, the Lord was with her, and she was the most blessed woman who had ever lived. What was so disturbing about that?
The reality is that most of us aren’t accustomed to praise, and we are too focused on our faults. We may consider it rude for others to mention our shortcomings, but we can relate when they do. Praise, on the other hand, is uncomfortable. It causes us to blush, and when it comes from God it can be frightening! Why is that?
We don’t know how to handle praise because we have a wrong image of God. We tend to see Him as harsh, demanding, and condemning instead of the loving Father He is. We expect judgment, not mercy, from Him—and certainly not praise. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). That doesn’t mean He overlooks sin, but as His children, He forgives us and inspires us not to sin.
Like Mary, we don’t tend to see ourselves as God sees us. If Gabriel had rebuked her, she probably wouldn’t have been as troubled. She would’ve said, “It must be God.” But Gabriel did nothing but praise her, and in the end she received all God had for her. Recognize today that all believers are blessed and highly favored of the Lord—and that includes you!