Length: 160 pp
Author: Sam Crabtree
Why read a book on affirmation? Does man really need to be praised? You might think that you have some strong theological reasons for not praising others more. You may reason that it is more loving to show someone Christ’s glory than their own. That showing a person their depravity and Christ’s glory and salvation are the kinder act. But are praising people and praising God at odds?
Why should you want to affirm people? Because you want to praise God! Total depravity does not mean we never affirm a person, rather it means we always know to whom all glory is due whenever any human does anything good, true, or beautiful.
Affirmation should be worship, or we shouldn’t do it. God alone is due all the glory, and this does not mean the neglect of affirmation, but laboring at it. Here is a book that directs affirmation towards its proper end. It does not entreat you to labor at affirmation with man or manipulation as a goal, but with the glory of God as a goal. For this reason I affirm this book. It is Christ-glorifying. I thank God for Sam Crabtree and Practicing Affirmation, because God is due the glory.
When our mouths are empty of praise for others, it is probably because our hearts are full of love for self.
Good affirmations are God-centered, pointing to the image of God in a person. The only commendable attributes in people were given to them. Everything is from God, through God, and to God so that in all things—including the commendable qualities in people—he might get the glory: “‘Who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:35–36).
[Paul] didn’t thank people for things; he thanks God for people.
We help people be shallow when we focus our compliments on their braiding of hair, wearing of gold, putting on of clothes, sequins, piercings, and tattoos (see 1 Peter 3:3-4).
Be careful what you affirm. You may get more of it. Just as there are superior ways of correcting, there are superior ways of affirming.
If we affirm trendy clothing, we may get more shallow trendiness.
If we affirm accessories, we may get an emphasis on accessorizing.
If we affirm only winning, we may get an increase in unscrupulous win-at-any-cost attitudes and behaviors.
If we affirm things like Scripture memory and serving others less than we affirm dance lessons or soccer performance, we may discover a corresponding set of values and priorities developed in the life of the affirmed.