Encouragement vs Affirmation

A friend of mine mentioned to me once an interesting thought… encouragement and affirmation are NOT the same thing.  I had always thought of them as two different words describing the same general thought.  But he enlightened me to a subtle nuance between the words.  Consider…

Affirmation is patting someone on the back for something they’ve done.  Encouragement is patting someone on the back for something they have not done yet, but CAN do.  Read those two sentences again…  Then think about the difference for a few moments.

AFFIRMATION is what a young person gets for bringing home a report card with good grades.  ENCOURAGEMENT is what parents do to spur the child to bring home better grades than they are presently getting.

AFFIRMATION is what a person receives when they are successful in business.  ENCOURAGEMENT is what person receives from friends and family that they can succeed in the business venture they are about to embark on.

AFFIRMATION is what you get when it becomes apparent that you made the right decision.  ENCOURAGEMENT is what you get from those who love you that you will make the right decision… even though you’re not sure you can.

AFFIRMATION is receiving any kind of recognition for something you have done well.  ENCOURAGEMENT is that pat on the back people give you to let you know they believe in you… they’re behind you… they support you… they’re there for you… no matter what.

AFFIRMATION is what you get for being successful.  ENCOURAGEMENT is something you can receive so thatyou won’t give up whether or not you’ve been successful at a particular time or on a particular project.

ENCOURAGEMENT is needed.  ENCOURAGEMENT is a vital part of our ministry to others.  ENCOURAGEMENT is something Jesus was a master at.  ENCOURAGEMENT is something Christians are commanded to do for one another.

Jesus encouraged Peter to be the leader of the early church not only in spite of his failure (Denied Christ three times), but because he was a failure.  See John 21:15-17.

It is written in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we are to encourage one another… to spur one another on to good deeds.  This glorifies God.

There is plenty of affirmation going on that is deserved.  But there are many more people who need to be encouraged.  Encouraged not to give up… not to quit… to keep going… to be told they can do it… they aren’t a failure… they are loved!

Let me encourage you to encourage someone this day and watch their face light up!  We glorify God by doing those thing which He ordained before hand that we are to do… these are good works (Ephesians 2:10).