By Lance Cordle
Humans need it. We want others to give it freely, not grudgingly. We want it to come without prompting and we would love for it to happen on a regular basis. However, most of us are of such disposition we do not need it every day or, for that matter, every week...but we do need it. What is “it?” The answer is affirmation—the acknowledgement by someone outside ourselves, that we are needed, wanted and valued for our unique contribution to their life.
The apostle Paul was a master of affirmation. Just a quick glance at the New Testament books which are his letters to churches and individuals will confirm this. As you look over the following verses, note the phrases of affirmation (in italics, for my emphasis):
- “Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in the Lord, who risked their necks for me . . .” (Romans 16:3, 4)
- “I rejoice at the coming of Stephanus and Fortunatus and Achaicus . . . For they refreshed my spirit as well as yours…” (1 Corinthians 16: 17, 18)
- “. . . Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.” (Ephesians 6:21).
- “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy . . .” (Philippians 1:3, 4)
- “For I bear him (Epaphras) witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hieropolis.” (Colossians 4:13)
- “To Timothy, my beloved child” (2 Timothy 1:2)
- “To Titus, my true child in a common faith . . .” (Titus 1:4)
You and I can follow Paul’s example. We can do so in writing, just as he did with a few well-chosen words. It can also be done personally, with a touch, hand-shake or hug. All it takes is the courage to push those words past our lips. One such sentence could be, “I am glad you are my . . .” You fill in the blank with friend, wife, husband, son, daughter, teacher, etc.”
One note of caution, however—you had better mean every word, because they will probably know if you are not sincere.
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com