SCRIPTURE: Psalm 33:1b (TM)
Right-living people sound best when praising.
The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realized that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington thought for a moment, then replied. "I'd give more praise," he said.
More words of discouragement, fault finding and criticism are heard today than praise. It seems that we live in a negative driven world. Turn on the TV, radio or pick up the morning paper … it is all negative.
Even in the sacred halls of our churches one can hear more about what is wrong with this group or that as well as a fault list on the pastor. We are quick the find fault and slow to praise.
It is also true in our meaningful relationships in our homes. We have a tendency to lean towards the negatives… what is not happening… instead of what is happening. Working with Robin and Dave through of the rough places in their marriage a suggestion was made to only speak a word of praise and thank you for an entire week. It turned out to be fun for them so they took the challenge on for a second week, then a third and finally it became their “life-style” in the relationship. A marriage had been saved.
Negative thinking is a trap. It will pull us all down. It spreads like cancer through the mind and spirit. Organizations can develop a DNA of negativism if we are not careful.
Praise initially takes work. It will require forethought and some planning. For some strange reason it does not come naturally. But we can re-train our spirit to be praise generators. It will lift our spirit and the spirit of the one we are praising. Praise is transformational.
Heard once about a church that really didn’t like their preacher even though the pastor was only in his 3-year. Then a prominent leader in the community simply asked a member what are some of the things that you like about your pastor. The comments were slow in coming, but come they did. Then the leader suggested that the person share them with her pastor, which she did. It lifted the pastor’s spirit. Before long others began to join the chorus of praise. The end of the story is that the pastor retired from the church after 29 years of service.
There is power in praise. God likes to hear it… and so do we!
May we be quicker to praise and slow to criticize. May we generate the attitude of praise among others. May we find individuals who have been burdened by criticism and life there spirit with a good word of praise.