Public Affirmation, Private Correction
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Men and women alike feel encouraged by public affirmation and respected by private correction. Men especially have needs, facilitated by their egos, that are sensitive to these two scenarios. In fact, a husband who is publicly corrected by his spouse can feel angry and ashamed. Thus, wise is the woman who builds him up and trusts God to keep him humble. Her words of affirmation are an assurance of love, affection, and respect. We all respond much better to words delivered with respect in a relational way.
It’s when our heart hurts that we lose perspective and sometimes unknowingly tear down someone dear to us. Healing comes from being known and loved, not from dishonor and shame. So, we are wise to offer love and forgiveness in the form of public affirmation and private correction to those we deeply care about. Love seeks to understand a beloved’s needs. It listens to and speaks another’s love language. Above all, look to the Lord for eternal encouragement that is able to triumph over earthly disappointments.
“I will set my eyes upon them for good… I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up” (Jeremiah 24:6, NRSV).
Related Readings: Isaiah 57:14; Jeremiah 22:13; Acts 20:32; Ephesians 4:16
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