Beauty Supplements

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Affirming is distinct from flattery:

A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin. (Prov. 26:28)

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. (Prov. 29:25)

That’s the Bible, and it’s echoed in secular statements like: “Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver” and “Flattery feeds the pride of both parties.” 

What is flattery? Like other corruptions, it starts out rooted in a good thing, but ends up putting a corrupt twist on that good thing

While affirmation commends virtues, flattery exaggerates them, glosses over flaws, offers excessive input, and is insincere, not chiefly interested in building up the recipient in Christlikeness, but interested chiefly in obtaining some kind of direct favor. Healthy affirmation does not exaggerate or schmooze. Having affirmed, the affirmer can walk away with no expectation of receiving anything from the recipient. A good affirmer, just as the giver of a cup of cold water, looks to God for his reward.

In contrast, there is a thread of seduction in flattery. The flatterer is after something from the flattered. While affirmation is a free gift with no strings attached and trusts God to bring about whatever good harvest he wishes to bring from the seed planted, flattery is a bribe, and a direct return is expected–soon.

Godly affirmation approves of Christlikeness and disapproves of anything contrary, whereas the flatterer approves anything–Christlike or not–that may achieve the desired response.

~Sam Crabtree in Practicing Affirmation

Photo: OBMonkey

Beauty Supplements

Your daily dose of true beauty advice…

Striving to affirm others puts us in the practice of looking at them positively–that is, looking for evidences of God’s work in them. Affirmation changes us before it changes them. It is one of the more beautiful features that God has designed into this fallen world, namely, that no one can sincerely benefit another without benefiting himself.

I can be so quick to point out the negative while taking the positive for granted, assuming people around me will behave the way I think they should and forgetting that I might have a role to play in encouraging them to behave in certain ways. We become preoccupied by the chores of marriage, children, jobs, church, and pets, and we lose sight of God’s purpose for everything in this life–to conform us to the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29). We so easily move away from being on the lookout for the life of Christ in our counterparts.

Look out the window: what are those heavens out there doing? They’re declaring the glory of God. But worship is aroused only in those who have eyes to see it! And now look at your neighbor, your spouse, your child, your parent, your coworker, your pastor. Do you see God’s glory there? The image of God is present in all humans, but is often missed by those not looking for it.

Affirmation doesn’t require deep insight, just simple sight. And action. See good things and point them out with appreciation.

~Sam Crabtree in Practicing Affirmation

Photo: OBMonkey