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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 publically 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 hearts hurt 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 with those we deeply care about. Love seeks to understand a beloved’s needs.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
What is your process for processing your emotional needs? Are you able to verbalize what you are feeling, so that your spouse can better support you? One way to grow in your communication skills is to become a student of your spouse’s needs. What do they value? Their top three God-given needs may be security, attention and comfort—or they may thrive on affection, encouragement and respect. Love listens to and speaks another’s love language.
“Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” 2 Samuel 12:7a
Above all, look to the Lord for eternal encouragement that is able to triumph over earthly disappointments. Like Nathan privately illustrated to David in caring correction, the Lord, with divinely inspired compassion, lovingly rebukes your unrighteous attitudes and actions. The Spirit quietly seeks to set you straight, so that your public steps are on the straight and narrow path of humble obedience. What God builds up no man can tear down.
“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
Who do I need to privately confront in love and publicly affirm them with respect?