Thursday, 11 September 2008
"Helpful" is the standard vocabulary that evangelicals use (at least in my context) to describe a sermon, comment, conversation that has meant something to us. I wonder, is this really "helpful"?!! Can we not learn to be a little more encouraging and enthusiastic than this? I wish to start a new campaign: let's start learning to praise people and give them real encouragement. Let's excise the word "helpful" from our vocabulary. Let's learn to rejoice in people's gifts and thank them properly for their input into out lives. Americans are great at this - can we not learn to be a little more American (and a lot more more biblical)? Such praise does not need to be empty, false, man-exalting; nor does it mean that we do not critique or even rebuke. But I think we should do one or other and not be lukewarm. We should either praise/encourage properly or we should critique properly (even if it should be done with gentleness). The irony is that real praise when you also give critique is very powerful, as is real critique when you really praise.