4 Obstacles to Receiving

Have you ever known someone who is an unwilling recipient? I’ve encountered a few such people, and at the time, I found their reaction difficult to understand. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a gift? But sometimes, those who do not receive well are averse to accepting anything, whether gifts, help, or advice.

Here are some obstacles to being a gracious receiver:


Pride can be both positive and negative, but in many situations, pride holds you back and deters forward motion. In the case of receiving, some feel a gift, whether monetary or an act of service, implies they are incapable of providing for themselves, or makes a statement about their level of need. But what they don’t realize is some people derive pleasure from giving of their resources, time, or talents. It is their love language, and to refuse to accept what they offer denies them the joy of giving. Also, they may be following through with a directive they received from God. Don’t allow pride to prevent you from receiving a blessing.


Many times people are hesitant to receive because they feel it obligates them to respond in kind or they think there is a “catch” to accepting something for which they haven’t paid. I’ve known people who didn’t want me to give them a Christmas gift because it made them feel obligated to give something of equal, or greater, value in return.

A gift by definition is “a voluntary transfer by one person to another without compensation.” In other words, a person chooses to give and expects nothing in return. Repayment is not inherent in receiving.


Sometimes people do not respond well to receiving because they feel they are suddenly thrust into the spotlight and are awkward with the attention. Those who are shy or easily embarrassed do not want to be singled out and are uncomfortable with receiving a gift, act of service, or any type of help.

Embarrassment is probably the most challenging obstacle to overcome regarding receiving, but you can learn to be a gracious receiver by realizing those who give do so out of love and not with intention of spotlighting you.


Advertising often uses the phrase “you deserve it” or “you’ve earned it,” but for various reasons, many people are deterred from receiving because they feel undeserving. Unfortunately, some children grow up without the encouragement or support that helps them develop a healthy sense of self-worth. Others are weighed down by past mistakes, guilt, abuse, or the unkindness of others.

Sometimes people reject God’s grace because they feel unworthy. But others refuse because they think it places limits them. Still others feel salvation is unnecessary, that faith is a myth, a crutch for the unintelligent or weak.

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift ever given. He offers salvation and eternal life, freely given. Don’t allow pride, guilt, or a sense of unworthiness to prevent you from accepting and receiving this life-changing gift, one that impacts you now and forever.

“Every good and perfect gift is from God.” James 1:17 NIRV


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