Affirmation Before Instruction
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction (Proverbs 16:21).
A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. Genuine encouragement lets another know we care about comforting their heart as well as teaching their mind. Yes, children especially need to be continually corrected, but not without a hug, a kiss on the head, or a compassionate look into their eyes. Language laced in grace gets the best results. Patience is wise to wait and pray before it says what it’s pondering. Affirm, then instruct.
Are you gifted with discernment? Do you have the ability to see and understand an individual or situation before the average person is able to comprehend? If so, be wise not to rush in with a remedy without preparing the person. Better to prayerfully wait another day, week or month, so your friend has time to discover for themselves what needs to be done. To offer advice without earning the right can create an apathetic reaction. Relational investments open ears to hear truth.
“The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction” (Proverbs 16:23).
On the job we probably have co-workers who need to know we care before they will care about what we know. It’s not enough for us to leverage our supervisory position without building relationships. Our respect and reassurance open the door for some insecure individuals to be instructed. When someone feels understood, they seek to understand. Compassionate managers make themselves known and seek to know their team. Our gracious words promote instruction.
Almighty God affirms, but also instructs. His Holy Spirit comforts, but also convicts. So, be grateful for the discipline of the Lord. He corrects, because He cares. If we despise God’s discipline we distance ourselves from His love. The Lord’s loving discipline affirms us. He corrects His children, so He can instruct His children. God’s precepts are received by a heart prepared by the Spirit, so learn from Him.
“The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him” (Ezra 8:22).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to affirm others, before I seek to instruct others.
Related Readings: Psalm 25:8; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22; 2 Timothy 2:24