The key to commending others is knowing Jesus.
Not only is he the source of all that is right and good and beautiful, but as the God-man, he is the perfect human embodiment of our standard for praise. When we spot in others some commendable attitude or action — something that even faintly echoes one of Jesus’s many excellencies — the Christian thing to do is point it out and praise it.
Essential Ingredient in Healthy Relationships
When it comes to affirming others, Sam Crabtree literally wrote the book on it. He is author of Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God, and those who know him can testify to how refreshingly he lives out the message in everyday life.
Affirming one another is no small thing. Far too many relationships are deeply damaged by lack of affirmation. Sam says that in over 30 years of pastoral ministry, he has never seen a marriage end in divorce when a husband and wife kept up the practice of regularly affirming one other. Much is at stake in noticing the good and naming it.
Affirmation is no mere icing on the cake. It’s an essential ingredient in the very batter of healthy human interaction.
What Gets Praised Gets Repeated
When we commend others with God-centered praise, not only is God honored, but our own joy multiplies, and others are both strengthened in the moment and encouraged to do more good in the long haul. Commendation shapes the patterns of our lives. As Sam says, what gets praised gets repeated.
And those who truly commend the commendable gain a hearing for correction in the future. Pointing out the positives can demonstrate that we’re on someone’s side, and incline them to take our counsel to heart when we have some constructive criticism to offer down the road. Practicing affirmation is part of the warp and woof of life-giving relationships in the home, the church, and the workplace.
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