If you are not giving words of praise to those in your relationships, then these interpersonal fires of importance will dwindle quickly.
Our personality is the portion of man that makes us all truly different—at least on the inside. It is what makes up our “personality DNA”, so to speak. Our ability to relate properly toward others, the essence of developing relationships, is found within the make-up of our personality. The development of a person is the development of their soul. It is character development that is the second most important development a man can have (second only to the development of the Spirit).
For the fires of our interpersonal relationships, I believe the best healthy “log” is praise and quality time. Throwing this “log” on someone’s fire is one of the most influencing tools to challenge someone to lasting change in their character. The word praise means “worth commending.” If you are not giving words of praise to those in your relationships, then these interpersonal fires of importance will dwindle quickly.
Proverbs 27:21 reads “As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.”
Solomon is teaching us that when a man is praised, it removes his imperfections. I counsel many disgruntled relationships. I find that often they want to see change in the other’s personal weaknesses. More oft than not, when I inquire about their fire (soulical relationship), I am amazed at how the fires have dwindled because they failed to feed it the logs of praise and quality time.
We have what seems to be a natural tendency to focus on the negativity of others. We don’t praise the good when it shows up because we are so focused on the overwhelming annoyance, whatever that may be. Let us suppose that you are a supervisor, and one of your employees is always late for work. But that one time they show up on time, we tend to handle it as a sarcastic mistake or such. But rather, I have found that what compels my employees to fulfill my expectation on our organization’s standards is noticeable appreciation from me on their sincere working at their sin issue.
No matter the relation or age, all of us thrive on being noticed and appreciated. Proverbs 27:21 is telling us when we praise people for proper behavior through commendation; it is the “contraption” that is used by God to bring them to “liquefaction for the sake of personal purification!” What does that mean? It means if you will compliment, commend, praise, and affirm those with personality problems when their behavior is unexpectedly and excitedly proper, then the praise will contain the necessary components to precipitate improvement in the person. In other words, you cannot make a person change by verbal persecution or vehement preaching nearly as much as you can make a man change by vocal praising.
Praise is one of the greatest tools we have in child-rearing, yet we neglect it with regularity. It is so easy to constantly remind a child to clean his or her room, take out the trash, brush their teeth, or turn off the lights when exiting a room. When this is done continually, the parent begins to “nag” the child and the child tends to “tune them out” much like Charlie Brown’s teacher! However, if that parent will use praise to its fullest extent when that child does one of these tasks, or even a different task, that child will enjoy the praise so much that he/she will want to do something else to receive that word of commendation!
This log of personal investment into a relationship will help these interpersonal fires burn. It is this log of praise, coupled with quality time spent together, that leads our students to be loyal to our ministry and faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this flammable fire log that causes a leader’s staff to stay with an organization through difficult circumstances in the workplace jobs, especially in ministry work. The battle is too intense for us to not be appreciated for what we are doing. Though it is not the reason for doing things, appreciation is a reasonable thing to be done.
In a marriage relationship that is sorely suffering, the couple often cannot find anything good about this person that they were head over heels in love with some time back at the marriage altar. But the lack of finding that which needs to be praised is because you have an investment problem. It is the investment of your time and energy on behalf of the other which holds great value. For all they are worth, praise them and watch that worth increase!
In our family relationships (our marriage and our children), we tend to reap that which has our focus. For example, if our attention is always given to our children when they have misbehaved, the child’s mind computes that they get your attention when they are bad. As a child, we are created to want and need the attention of those caring for us. Oh what a dangerous and destructive stage of life to not throw the log of praise and quality time on this fire! I am sure in years down the road, we will not think that the things that angered us or stole our time will be as important as the lost heart of that child. We need to feed their fire by praising them and giving our children our most valuable commodity—time.
Jesus’ earthly ministry was a beautiful picture of this “log.” Though He was daily confronted with the failures and insufficiencies of everyone around Him, He still spoke praiseworthy words and gave of His quality time to those under him. Jesus’ ministry through you will be evidenced by the manifestation of praise and quality time.
II Corinthians 10:17-18 says, “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” Our only responsibility for glorying (which is defined as, to make another look good) is to make any commendations a glorying of the Lord. I will tell you, one of the best ways we self-focused Christians can start giving glory to God is by starving our appetite for creating our own commendations!
If we want to get along, we have to do some things for a long time. Praising is not something we can do every once in a while and get along. Time spent together is not something we can do every once in a while and get along. Affirmation and attention must be done with regularity, spontaneity, and quality if we are going to get along for long!
Years ago, a black man in California was mercilessly beaten and left for dead by some wicked and wrong law enforcers. Yes, this man was a troubled man, not the type of man you would easily trust or give heed to his antics. But this was out of line and it caused a national debate. It was a time of complete and utter unrest. Riots were breaking out across Los Angeles. This was later termed “the Rodney King riots,” as if this quiet and unassuming man was the originator of such riotous behavior. This young black and homeless man uttered a phrase that probably best defined the culture that had begun in that generation—the later decade of the 20th century. The phrase was: “Can’t we all just get along?”
This phrase was repeated by thousands of people on airwaves across the globe. Everyone was moved by the question. However, no one ever answered it. I now want to take the opportunity to answer that question. Sadly, the answer is “no, we can’t just all get along;” at least, not in our fleshly ways of our world. “Getting along” does not happen by everyone seeing everything through the same lenses of life. Nor will it happen when we have political justice.We may not be able to control all the relationships of the world, but in the relationships in which you influence, I can tell you how to get along. It will happen when we decide to throw the log of praise and quality time. Rather than dousing our fires with negative and pessimistic judgments of others, seeking to win their love through giving is far more effective. Start using praising and quality time to throw a log on the fire of those you love!
We may not be able to control all the relationships of the world, but in the relationships in which you influence, I can tell you how to get along. It will happen when we decide to throw the log of praise and quality time. Rather than dousing our fires with negative and pessimistic judgments of others, seeking to win their love through giving is far more effective. Start using praising and quality time to throw a log on the fire of those you love!