I hate negative compliments.
What is a negative compliment? It’s like when a person that tells you “have you lost weight because you don’t look as fat as you used to”. Now it’s said as a compliment but it really isn’t, it is thinly veiled criticism. Now the negative can be thrown right back at you but usually the negative is directed at someone else. It is not a statement of praise for you as much as it is an attack on someone else.
It’s when the lady walks up to the gospel meeting preacher standing right next to the regular preacher and says, “We haven't heard good preaching like that in years!”. It’s when a person says “the other deacons don't do half as much as you do”. It's the member that exclaims for all to hear, “That was a great sermon on sin, some people here really needed to hear it!”. You are not lifted up; you are just the way to tear someone else down. It seems on the surface to be praise to you but it really is way to hide complaint.
Now the person doing it may not even realize they are doing it. At least I hope that is the case. I wouldn’t think we would be that rude. We may not intent to, but that doesn't make it right. If you can't build someone up without pulling someone else down, you need to go back and come up with something better to say!
Encouragement doesn't need to come at others expense!
1st Peter 4:9
Be hospitable to one another without complaint.