Galatians 5:14-15 “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”
Living in a home with other sinners day in and day out can become taxing at times. We get to know each others’ faults and weaknesses like no one else on the planet, and sometimes, if we’re not careful, that’s all we’ll see.
When that happens, a critical spirit is born, and critical spirits once born, die hard. It could be a parent who’s critical of a child, a child who’s critical of a parent, or even a sibling who’s critical of their brothers and sisters.
And before you know it, it seems like everyone always has something to say about everyone, and none of it seems to be positive. Everyone’s faults are magnified. Everyone’s always going straight for the throat in every conversation. And no one is happy in the family because we’ve been guilty of “biting, devouring, and ultimately consuming one another.”
However, the verses above offer a much better way in these words – “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Seems simple, right? Because it is.
Rather than consuming through criticism, let’s love others as ourselves by trying to edify through affirmation.
I like to think of affirmation this way – “Say what you want to see.” When we acknowledge more of the things that we want to see, we’ll start to see more of the things we want to get.
Affirmation always accomplishes more than criticism. Here’s why:
1. Affirmation is Positive – Criticism is Negative
If what you’re looking for in your home is more negativity, then a critical spirit is the way to go. You’ll be guaranteed bad attitudes, lots of disagreement, and an unhappy home. Make sure to always point out everything others fail to do and put little or no emphasis on the things they do right. Simply look for everything that’s wrong with your family, and make sure to point them out. They won’t be hard to find.
But if what you’re looking for in your home is more focus on the positive, affirmation is a great tool to keep in your family tool belt. Speaking words of praise often, on purpose, and with the desire to edify someone else is a great way to brighten the daily atmosphere of your home.
2. Affirmation is Helpful – Criticism is Hurtful
When we constantly criticize those we say that we love, it causes pain and naturally distances us from one another. There’s a time and a place for correction and even constructive criticism in the home, but there’s nothing helpful about simply tearing one another down.
But when we affirm the positive things we see by magnifying the good and micro-scoping the bad, others in our lives feel more loved, more encouraged, and more inspired. Don’t we want our home to be a place of restoration and escape from the negativity of the world around us? A place where we can come for our body, mind, and spirit to be refreshed and strengthened before having to face another day?
Ken Blount said it this way, “Support your spouse (children) as they move towards being more Christlike, don’t tear them down because they’re not already there.”
3. Affirmation Breeds Results – Criticism Breeds Repetition (more of the same)
Have you ever found that your constant nagging and criticism changes the behavior of your family members? Does it motivate them to improve and change their actions? Or does it simply seem to go in one ear and out the other? Regular criticism breeds more of the same actions and behaviors, but rarely, if ever, changes them.
Affirmation works the same way but in a good sense. You always get more of what you affirm. Others, including those in our family, naturally perk an ear at the sound of someone praising and affirming them and what they are doing right. As humans, we’re wired to respond positively to what is positive, especially when it’s specifically directed toward us and our actions. It’s really simple – say what you want to see.
4. Affirmation Infuses Life – Criticism is an Instrument of Death
Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
Every day, we have the opportunity to infuse life into our family through words of affirmation, or the opportunity to take life away and crush the spirit of our family through words of unnecessary criticism.
Our words have tremendous power! And according to the verse above, we will eat the fruit of them. We can either create the fruit we want by saying what we WANT to see, or endure the fruit we get by just saying WHAT we see. When the fruit of our words produces a regular diet of affirmation, everyone becomes more healthy.
When we realize that our words matter, especially with our children and our spouse, we’ll begin to be more intentional with what we say. The last thing we should ever want to do is bite and devour the very people we say we love the most. So instead, let’s intentionally love them with our words as we would love ourself.
Every day, make the choice to speak life through affirmation – Say What You Want to See, and mark it down, you’ll begin to start seeing more of it!
This article originally appeared here.