Was there ever a time you needed to know you matter? Was there a time when an encouraging word would be welcomed?
I don’t know about you, but I have experienced both, a need to know I that matter, and a need to be encouraged.
The following are examples of what some children and adults are hearing or head and experiencing while growing up:
- You will never be any good.
- You are just like your daddy no good.
- Girl you are just like your mamma, and she was no good.
- You are mean and evil just like your daddy or your mamma.
I am sure individuals who have heard these words probably feel as if their lives do not matter. These are harsh degrading statements in any language. Validation does matter and is a basic need in our lives.
Validation is a basic need
Validation is one of the basic needs that we all have. Where food nourishes the body, validation nourishes the spirit and heart. We need to know if who we are matters. And we need to be recognized as a valuable human being with something to offer in the eyes of others.
There are people, young and old, STARVING emotionally because they don’t feel valued, recognized, or that they matter even a little bit in the eyes of others. And who are the eyes of others? The others could be gang members, after all, they call themselves a family.” The others could be negative thinking people, never seeing anything good. The others could be those who resemble our family members who we needed to know we mattered and we continue to try, and try, and try harder to get what we need to fill that deep and basic need that says “I do matter.” So how can we find the answers to these questions?
Asking, the risk of all risks
Asking is a huge RISK. Asking “Do I matter?” “Did I do a good job?” “How can I improve?” Discernment is important here. “Who can I ask?” ” Who can I trust to tell me the truth?” ” Who will be honest yet remember I am just dust?”
God’s examples from Scripture
God provides us with great examples to follow in the relationships between Jonathan and David, Barnabas and Paul. These are the two relationships that come to mind.
Jonathan’s love for David was deep. Jonathan played a significant role in the relationship between David and his father, Saul.
Jonathan was honest in all his communication with David and Saul. He tried to be a peacemaker between Saul and David. He intervened for David. He protected David. He encouraged David. He risked his life for David. Jonathan affirmed David as God’s chosen King of Israel while his father Saul was still King. Jonathan gave up his legacy to become the future King of Israel! Jonathan gives meaning to what it is to encourage and validate another human being.
Barnabas and Paul
Barnabas“…a respected leader of the early church was nicknamed ‘son of encouragement.’ He supported, encouraged and affirmed Paul when others wanted to cause harm. Barnabas travels with Paul on his first missionary trip which was a risk for both Barnabas and Paul during the early church times.
Both Barnabas and Jonathan were supporting, encouraging, edifying, affirming and so much more.
Most encouragers are compassionate with words of encouragement. They may offer options to help make what you do better. However, the encourager must be careful that their words are filled with truth, not rote or sounds manipulative, but continues to motivate which lines up with God’s word! So what does God have to say?
Biblically speaking how we encourage and edify one another is important to God. We know this because He gives us instructions about encouragement, and what it looks like to encourage, and edify one another.
Ephesians 4:29 ASBV
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Encouraging and affirming others is important. We are often faced with challenges and need to hear a wholesome word from someone. Solomon affirms, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (New Living Translation, Proverbs 16:24). No one wishes to be devalued by others. Proverbs 15:4 reminds us that “a soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.” In other words, what we say could destroy one’s morale and I don’t ever wish to be guilty of that. The Word is clear that what one sows, he shall reap. Putting myself in a position where I may be subject of reaping similar consequences.
Our job is not to destroy, deny, or belittle another person’s worth, but we are to encourage, affirm, validate, and edify. Our responsibility is to be patient as we build up one another in truth. And this also means we will find it necessary to evaluate the negative in a positive manner. Remember we are charged to speak life not death into the lives of others.
Examples from scripture:
Can we be like the woman described in Proverbs 31-26 MSG? When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
Can we help someone to change their way of thinking? Philippians 4:8 NIV says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Can we help someone recognize Proverbs 13:3 AMP “The one who guards his mouth [thinking before he speaks] protects his life; The one who opens his lips wide [and chatters without thinking] comes to ruin.”
On a personal note
I sometimes struggle with self-doubt in my abilities and talents. You could say I am my own worst critic! But I’m learning and holding on to the following:
1.) Not to live and entertain my own self-doubt in silence. I don’t want to be tormented by my thoughts and judgments of myself.
2.) To believe my Barnabas[es] and Jonathan[es] rather than myself. It is self-defeating if I don’t.
3.) Most of all to be open to hearing the voice of God.
We need Barnabas[es] andJonathan[es] in our lives. They are important to our success in life and will help us especially when we hear so much negative feedback even our self-talk is negative at times.
Mr. Jon Bloom penned an article entitled “Make Your Mouth a Fountain of Life” on the website for Desiring God.org. What a challenge just in the title alone! But what drew my attention most are the points he included are as follows:
Encourage more than you critique.
Seek opportunities to speak kind, tenderhearted words.
Say something affectionate to a loved one at an unexpected time.
Seek to only speak words that are “good for building up,” that “give grace to those who hear.”
This is a lifetime pursuit!