“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it eat fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21
How easy is it for us to cut with the tongue? The scripture in the book of James says the tongue is a little member but it boasts great things. God has changed our hearts and our tongue doesn’t have to be an unruly evil anymore. The Bible tells us that there is much power in our words. Our words can be used to fill up someones love tank.
Affirmation, what does it mean? To declare positively or firmly; To support or uphold the validity of: Do you solemnly swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the whole truth?” We hear that phrase in court. Affirm means to declare strongly; assert; state as a fact; to announce openly.
When was the last time you affirmed someone positively? How about a neighbor, or a friend, or a family member?
Class Examples of Affirmation:
“My wife discovered the internet about a year ago. Lately, she has been buying a lot of clothes. I have been on her about it. However, the other day, when she had on a new item, I said that it looked really good on her. Her love tank filled up a little bit.”
“My son has been learning how to say his name. They have been practicing the c sound. On the way to church there was a lot of praise for his efforts.”
“I complimented my wife because she did a really good job on her schoolwork.”
“My wife called me while I was on the way home and told him not to take the 50 Freeway because of an accident. I appreciated her help.”
Words of Affirmation are things we can work on. Sometimes we forget that people enjoy hearing them. The affirmation needs to be words that uplift and build up.
“The words of the wise are goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies…” Eccl. 12:11
The word goad is a prod; a jab; a spur, like spurring a horse. Don’t we want to encourage one another? We want to use wisdom and use the words God gives us. Those words can goad somebody. They can provoke. A wife may never know that she looks nice unless you say something to her. A husband may wonder if the job he did out in the yard is appreciated until you let him know. It helps the love tank fill up.
We need to encourage people more, especially those that live in the same home as us. Using Words of Affirmation is not always a natural thing. You have to work at love. Using words of affirmation is a choice. The enemy of souls is slick. He knows how to work. We are not ignorant of his devices. Are you mindful to use affirming words that would uplift somebody? Love is kind. We want to help fill up somebody’s love tank. It is not just the words we say, necessarily, but the way we say it. The same words can have different meanings. How much do we really mean it when we say, I love you?
Healing for Hurts
We all make mistakes in our relationships. All we can do is humble ourselves and be sorry. God gives us humility. Humility is so important in every aspect of our Christian life. We must stay humble before God and those we love. It’s hard to come crawling back and say sorry. But you will sleep better if you say sorry and get it over with. By making an apology, the person can receive the apology.
When we have been wronged, we basically have two options.
- Justice: We can get even. We can get back. That is not love. That is not the Christ we serve. We want to look to Christ and his example. God didn’t hold our past against us. He didn’t give us justice; he gave us forgiveness.
- Forgiveness: Being hurt can be hard. Where there is humility, there is forgiveness. That can go a long way to having a happy relationship. Things we have said or done in the past cannot be erased. Love doesn’t keep score of past wrongs.
We need to learn from our mistakes so we do not repeat them. An apology goes a long way when it is coupled with a strong desire to never cause that hurt again. We must be willing to learn to use our words wisely.
Love makes requests, not demands.
When we request something, we give that individual a chance to choose how they will respond. The daughter might say to the mom, “Can’t we ever get a decent meal around here?” That is not affirming and it is demanding. A better way is to request, “Mom, can you make that great pasta dish? I love it!” That is affirming her mother and giving her a choice. A wife could ask her husband, “Will you be able to clean out the gutters before they overflow or start leaking?” That is a request. A non-affirmative demand might be, “You better get out and clean the gutters or they will become a jungle, and it will not be exotic.”
Love is kind. If you have a request and you are willing to let the other person choose, and they choose no, you shouldn’t elevate it to a demand. Sometimes the potential answer should be thought about first. Maybe it can be suggested that it can be added to list of things that need attention.
Other Ways to Affirm
We can affirm a loved one to someone else. The husband could say to his friend, “My wife is a great cook.” The affirmation may eventually get back to her and fill her tank. The wife could say to her friend, “My husband works so hard and is so good to the kids, I love that about him.” Where do words of affirmation fit in your language? Maybe you see it as a primary love language in someone close to you. Ones that prefer words of affirmation as a primary love language may not have received much of them as a child.
More Class Participation
“My parents loved me, but it was hard for his dad to affirm in positive ways. Before my dad passed away, he said, “You are a good guy.” That was very special to me.”
“Mom was an expert at using words of affirmation. One day she heard on the radio, that it is ok to tell your children that they did something right. It was a liberating thing for her. She used words of affirmation many times after that. The grandchildren were especially recipients of her words of affirmation. After she and her husband retired, she made a point that every day she would find something her husband had done and compliment him. It added a lot to her relationships.”
“My wife writes little love notes and puts them in my lunch.”
“This is one of my primary love languages. I need my wife to sit and listen to me talk. I have stuff in my head and I need her to help me straighten it out. I need her to take time to listen and affirm that. I want her to engage and be a partner in my thinking.”
Be Careful Parents of the words that you use with your kids. You are teaching your children with your words. If you are putting your kids down all the time, they will have a hard time in life. Kids sometimes need demands verses requests. However, you need to remember how old they are. Kids need clear instructions. It’s hard to tell a ten year old how to trim the yard. Show them how to do it. Tell them that you want them to mow and then sweep. How much damage is done when over a period of years, a father says repeatedly to a child, “what is wrong with you?” Parents need to be careful about what they say.
Do you think Words of Affirmation might be your primary love language? You need to know your love language so that a person who wants to show love for you will know what to do. They may not know what your love language is. You are making an assumption that they know.
It is also paramount that you know your loved one’s language. If you don’t know what a loved one wants to be loved like, you
will make a mistake. You may be trying, but you are speaking a love language that they do not understand and their tank is empty. You can’t assume that someone else wants to be loved the way you do. You need to know what your language is and what the language of your spouse and children is. You need to have a discussion.
Don’t just assume that your loved one feels loved by you. If you believe that everything is going along OK, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything is OK. Just because there’s no argument doesn’t mean everything is OK. It could be that the love tank is dry. You need to fill it up according to the love language they want. Sometimes it feels kind of strange. Do it anyway. Later you will find out they are much more willing to give back to you because you filled up their tank.
Think about someone you have a rocky relationship with. Give them a positive compliment even if you think they will not accept it. It will be a challenge. Sometimes words of affirmation have to be difficult. A challenge will always take us out of our comfort zone.
Keep a record of the words of affirmation that you use. Set a goal to give a loved one a compliment each day for one month.
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