As a young girl, I would walk home from school (yes, in the days when kids actually walked to and from school) with my girlfriends. We'd tug at our knee socks and we'd pick wild daisies. Nudging each other on, we would think about a boy we thought was cute and then, one by one, we'd pluck the petals off...he loves me...he loves me not...he loves me...he loves me not... On it would go until we reached the last petal. HE LOVES ME! We'd laugh and giggle with excitement.
We never, as humans, outgrow our need for love and affirmation. God designed us that way. It is our heart's deepest desire to feel that we are worthy of being loved.
The world can be a hard, cruel place - reminding us at every turn of how we don't measure up. Children learn, at an early age, how to bully and inflict harm with their words. A close friend of mine has lived for over twenty years in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage. Many of us know her pain. After hearing, "You're not worthy!" long enough, you start to believe it.
God's message, however, is far different than that of the world. He whispers to that deep place in our soul, "I love you! You ARE worthy in my sight." We are precious gems unto the Lord. He loves us unconditionally. God so wanted to spend eternity with you that He was willing to send His only son as a sacrifice for your sins. Our tiny minds cannot fathom the height and depth of His great love for us.
If you measure the price God paid for you...you are of GREAT worth!
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
In return for the love and affirmation God shows us, He calls us to show and speak love and affirmation to others.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
Read it again...There is no commandment greater than these! This is the heart of God. He calls us to renew our minds and to view others through a different lens - through the lens of His great love for us.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I believe that God would have us take it one step further. Do not only just think about these things, but speak them. Speak them to ears that are hungry to hear words of love, affirmation and praise. I have to pray, hourly, that my words do not default to a critical spirit.
Through His Spirit at work in me, I can speak life giving words to others.
Who in your life needs to hear words of love, affirmation and praise? I encourage you...be brave enough to speak those words to them today.