Friday, April 17, 2015

Don't Save It

Picture this: You're at your friend's graduation ceremony, and of course you can picture the ropes they've earned the right to wear around their necks. Or maybe, it's a scholarship banquet and they've earned an academic letter. Maybe it's a county fair prize. Who knows. You pick the occasion. Maybe even a wedding or engagement party.

Someone you know is being honored and all you want o do is run at them and wish your congratulations. Of course you do, they've done something wonderful and now is the opportunity to tell them. It's not often you hand out a bouquet of compliments. You've saved up all kinds of lovely thoughts in your mind about this person and now is the perfect time to share them.

That's wonderful.

Really, it is. But as wonderful as that sounds, I see a problem with this picture.

Why did you keep quiet for so long? Why didn't you tell them sooner?

Interesting question.

I'm starting to notice a trend in my generation, and even the generations before me: We are a critical generation.

Even our wonderful, magnanimous gestures of concern come out critical. "Don't do that, you'll hurt yourself." Funny... though the intent is good, there's a bit of a twist.

We are really good at over-analyzing our world and making decisions about that world. It's good. It's bad. It has room for improvement.


But I don't think judgement calls are what this world is in need of at the moment.

All around me, I see broken people. Really broken, hurting people who need some genuine love in their lives.

Most of us are very aware of our shortcomings. We berate ourselves when we mess up and we live for the next moment of success - you know why? Because the next time we succeed is when we'll get love again.

The next time we succeed, people will remember to tell us we have value.

Which is so strange - you know why? Because that's the opposite of Biblical.

You know what the Bible says:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
While we were a MESS God loved us. And demonstrated his love for us.

We are SO GOOD at loving on people when they deserve it. We tell them how great they are when they succeed. But what I find, is that when I succeed, I don't need encouragement. I already feel confident. But when I'm a mess, I really REALLY need to know that my friends and family still see my potential.

Most of us don't need to hear, "You're better than this."

Most of us don't need to hear, "This isn't you."

Most of us need to hear: "I love you."

"You're an amazing ________."

"You're kind."

"You're helpful."

"I'm so glad to have you in my life."

Why do we insist on giving backwards compliments and placing emphasis on our downfalls. That is so far from what God does. God has exemplified grace so that we might follow him in it.

We already know we're screw-ups. But we don't always remember that we have value. God has placed value on us. We were bought and reconciled to him, even when we didn't deserve it.

So PLEASE. I beg of you...

Don't save your compliments for the "right moments." 

Spread them wide and far and frequently.

Make sure those in your life know their worth ALL THE TIME.

No backwards compliments.

Less criticism (Not to say that criticism doesn't have it's place, but it shouldn't be "commonplace")

More encouragement.

I think we could change lives just by seeing the glass half full.
"encourage one another and build each other up" (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

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