Here’s a little secret: Everybody is looking for affirmation. Have you noticed that? People will do almost anything to get it. If you don’t believe that, just watch some of the reality shows. Look at what people do to get on TV, just so people will applaud them.
God is an incredibly affirming and loving Father. When you affirm other people, you are showing love and representing Christ. Jesus affirmed people as he ministered, so you are ministering like Jesus did. You’re showing the world a little bit more about what God is like.
One of the best ways to affirm people in everyday life is to show them acceptance. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (NIV).
The easy choice sometimes is to snub and belittle and demean people, especially when they don’t measure up to our standards. We all have a tendency to take our strengths and project them on other people, and then put them down when they don’t meet our expectations. For instance, you may be someone who is always punctual, and when other people are late, you tend to look down your nose at them. At the same time, it makes you feel good about yourself because you’re better at being on time. Or maybe you’re a very tidy person who can’t help but notice when you go to other people’s houses how messy everything is, and it makes you feel better about yourself. We tend to project our strengths on other people, forgetting that we have weaknesses in other areas.
Let me tell you a better way to feel better about yourself. Instead of doing it by putting other people down, why not try lifting other people up? It gives you a thrill like nothing else.
The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another” (AMP).
In order to do the work of God, you and I have to value the God given differences among us and the way we are uniquely shaped. Here’s how you know when you’ve accepted someone: You stop insisting that they be just like you. You realize and rejoice in the fact that they’re different. The truth of the matter is, the world would be a boring place if everyone were just like you. So God has made us in all different kinds of ways to do all different kinds of things so everything can get done in this world.
The goal of a family, a small group, a church family, or any community group is not to mold people into your image but to accept and affirm each other and help each other discover who God made you to be.