Last week, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder shared the positive effect we have on others when we choose to notice and thank them for good service or an act of kindness. Words of appreciation are not only good manners, but are encouraging to the person who receives them.
Appreciation is something we can choose to share countless times throughout our day. It can start with thanking your husband for that cup of coffee he has ready for you as you fly out the door in the morning, then continues with a smile and wave of acknowledgement to the school bus driver who waits for you to pass before turning on the red flashing lights which keeps you from being late for work. The opportunities for showing appreciation are almost countless on any given day.
It’s easy when we follow our grandmother’s time-honored advice, “It costs nothing to be polite.”
This week, Ben went on to discuss another kind of uplifting language, this time directed specifically at our loved ones. What kinds of words and conversation do we choose to gift them with? How do we go deeper than a polite word of appreciation like the one we say to the stranger who holds the door for us at the grocery store?
Ben shared his insights into the powerful words, “I am proud of you” and how deeply they affect the recipient’s sense of significance and value to God and to humanity.
There is a beautiful demonstration of this in Matthew 3:13-17. Jesus joins his cousin John the Baptist at the Jordan River. Jesus instructs John to baptize him, which is appalling to John. He knows Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah; as such, Jesus is in no need of the baptism of repentance. John tells Jesus to baptize him instead.
But Jesus, knowing prophecy and why God sent him here, tells John, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” (verse 15) So, John agrees to baptize him.
Jesus was focused on one thing, obediently fulfilling the will of the Father—it was his choice to come and die so all could live forever with him in heaven. After Jesus was baptized, “… the heavens opened up and [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’” (Mt 3:16-17)
This acknowledgement of Jesus from God is the epitome of how to tell a loved one you are proud of them. It tells them that they are unconditionally loved, that they have a home, a purpose, and someone who will stand with them in good times and bad.
“I am proud of you.” No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
So beware, if there are any qualifiers attached to your statement of pride, you need to check your motives. It’s important that your reasons for saying this are pure and truly only about bringing the gift of significance to the recipient and your heartfelt recognition of their value. It doesn’t count if we make it about ourselves in the process. Also, be careful not to let your acknowledgement of the accomplishments of your children be about you being a great parent.
The impact words that affirm our significance have on us is palpable. For example, there was a girl who was repeatedly told by her father that she was cherished by her parents and that she could and would do anything she set her mind on. Her parents then sacrificed to give her all the tools she needed to become that person. This child grew up confident, generous, and brave. She also used her gifts to bless others and accomplish much. Unfortunately, her baby brother didn’t enjoy these benefits. Instead, their father took every opportunity to demean him and sometimes, even physically abuse him. This brilliant, kind boy grew up and became an alcoholic, agoraphobic, and incapable of seeing himself as possessing any value at all. The difference? Love and encouragement for the daughter but ridicule for the son.
Our words are powerful, and God has gifted us with the ability to use them to profoundly impact those we love, to let them know how cherished and significant they really are. That is his will for us—to know how deeply we are loved and valued by him and those on earth who love us.
Begin to see those you love through God’s eyes. Share with them your feelings of deep pleasure and admiration, and watch them blossom.
Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
If you were, or are, the recipient of the unabashed approval and admiration of someone you love, how did, or does it affect who you are today?
If you aren’t blessed with a person who is able to say, “I am proud of you,” how can you lean on God to provide that over-the-top love for and approval of you to bring joy and significance to your life?
Think of three people you can be unselfishly intentional about telling that you are proud of them.
Take ten minutes to journal about how you felt when someone told you they were proud of you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your extravagant love for me. Thank you for creating me with a purpose that gives me great significance now and into eternity. Lord, please make clear to me exactly how I can serve the cause of Christ. In his name I pray, Amen.
This post was written by Martha Preckler. Martha loves Jesus and growing closer to him every day. She loves serving on the Sparkle Team and Greeter Team, as a Landing Leader, GrowthTrack hostess, and fill-in writer for LIO. Martha is the grateful mother of two grown sons and one daughter-in-law. Both sons are good writers, but one is a published urban fantasy writer and self-proclaimed grammar dictator, which he swears he picked up from his mother. She has been a Toledo Business Journal contributor, speech writer, as well as creator of dozens of promotional pieces for seniors’ events and programming offer by the YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo.
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