Friday, December 15

An Affirming Love

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In the book of Jeremiah God speaking to the children of Israel says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I Have drawn you “Jeremiah 31: 3. These words were spoken at a time when Israel was going through trials out of their past rebellion. God wanted them to know that despite their failures and rebellion His love for them was unchanging.

Moses wanted to understand God’s love for him and sought God’s affirmation and implored on God that “if you are pleased with me teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you” Exodus 33:13. God answered in the affirmative by saying, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” Exodus 33: 14. From this exchange we can deduce that affirmation confirms by action what one says in words. It is proof of one’s love for another regardless of the other’s circumstances.

Moses in fact pushed God to establish the extent of God’s Love by asking God not to send him and the children of Israel away without God’s glory because “what else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Exodus 33: 16. God in His infinite wisdom agreed to do what Moses requested and said “I will do the very thing that you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” Exodus 33: 17.

There are many children being raised by single parents for various reasons. These children may exhibit a spirit of rejection because they feel rejected and abandoned by the absent parent. Such children need affirming love to make them feel whole. This is an area where men and women of good repute can intervene by acting as fathers or mothers to such children to complete the missing part.

An example of this kind of intervention in scripture is that of Paul and Timothy. Timothy’s father was Greek and probably not a believer because later in scripture only his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice are mentioned as godly women, 2 Timothy 1:5. One can assume also that Timothy’s father may have been absent in his life. Paul took the role of a father for Timothy and mentored him until he was well grounded in ministry.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul starts by addressing Timothy as a “true son in the faith” and continues later by saying “this I charge of you son, Timothy according to the prophecies previously made concerning you” 1 Timothy 1:2, 18. Paul affirms Timothy’s relationship with him and also reminds him of his call. Parents in the same manner ought to affirm their children by continually letting their children know that they are loved while highlighting their special attributes.

We make a mistake when we make our children feel like failures because they do not measure up to a particular standard. Every person is unique and a parent’s role is to help their child find themselves by affirming them as they are. God affirmed Christ before humans and revealed to the world what He thought of His son and made a way for Christ’s ministry on earth.

The words “This is my son, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased” Mathew 3:17 are so endearing and motivating and they generate inspiration because they utter what every human being wants to hear; I trust you and love you for who you are and I believe in you.

This writer knew of a girl whose father was absent from her life when growing up. This girl later in life manifested the need for her father in ways that she did not understand until later. For a long time she was attracted to older men for self actualization and never connected this with her need for a father. She desired from these men something that she could not define other than the need to be loved and pampered by an older man.

When the girl finally reconciled herlife with God, she realized that what she had been looking for in these men was a daddy. God blessed me with a wonderful spiritual father who was also her pastor. The pastor was loving, caring and honored her as a daddy ought to honor his daughter. The pastro in effect affirmed the girl as a daughter and in the process healed her wounds. It was later realized that the girl realized that she was no longer attracted to older men.

Affirming love is needed in every relationship that we are involved in. We ought to acknowledge others efforts even as we correct their failures.  A wife ought to acknowledge the good that the husband does for her and the family and the husband ought to honor his wife’s efforts and make her know and believe that she is special to him.

Friends too should learn to affirm one another verbalizing what is special about their relationship. Parent should be careful not to focus only on the bad things or mistakes their children make. They ought instead to let their children know how special they are as well as noticing their initiatives.

This writer tries to affirm her son by showing him that she believes in him and speak positive attributes into him while making him believe in himself. When he disappoints her by his actions and in the process offends her, she tries to reassure him later that her love for him is steadfast because her love is not based on what he does but on who he is.

All of us need to be affirmed and when we are not we will express our need in some ways that are out of order.

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