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Be Hearty in Approbation and Lavish in Praise

by UNC Contributor

Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” This expression is emphasized in the book, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book has been one of the most widely-acclaimed pieces of motivational literature in the world. The book was first published in 1937 and is still in print today.

Originally, the book was intended to assist businessmen and women to learn how to speak in public and sell. But it was soon discovered that the principles were beneficial to people from all walks of life. It teaches people how to communicate and foster positive relationships. In one of the surveys Mr. Carnegie conducted he asked people what their main concern in life was. Most said their first concern was health and their second was human relations. So he realized people needed guidance to getting along with others. He established courses to meet those needs. The Dale Carnegie Courses and Seminars are still taught today even though Mr. Carnegie died in 1955.

“Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” put in today’s vernacular is, “Be unrestrained in your appreciation and generous in your praise.” Being appreciated is one of the strongest needs in a human being. Being appreciated makes one feel accepted. In a sermon at the Feast one year, a minister admonished us to tell three people that we appreciate them and to give each of them one of the three pieces of blue ribbon we had received when we came to services that morning. This was to be done before services the next day. What a wonderful thing to do! People who had never expected to receive one blue ribbon received many ribbons. There were tears of joy, hugging and laughing.

When Jesus called someone “you good and faithful servant,” wasn’t He showing appreciation for that person? It costs so little and does wonders for a person to be told their efforts or acts or words are appreciated, yes, even prayers. Mr. Carnegie cited many incidents of the power of appreciation and how it encourages people to go on to accomplish many things.

Well, our God is in the process of accomplishing a great work right now. In fact, it is the greatest work in the world. This tired old world depends on God’s work for its survival and it doesn’t even know it. We are part of that work – God’s work. One component of our job is to get along with people so we can set examples that will reflect God’s love and goodness. We are not all sermon givers, nor can we stand on the street corner announcing future events. But when we are able, we can give tithes and offerings. We can also keep God’s Sabbath, the Holy Days and we can all pray for God’s work. We can also emulate Christ and His Father through our daily contact with people in our circle of influence. How we deal with people can help or hinder God’s work.

It’s so important that we get along in our respective Church areas, that we should be unrestrained in our appreciation and generous in our praise! There needs to be a spirit of oneness, harmony, joy and kinship. God isn’t going to bring new people into a Church area where there is dissension, strife or division. This can greatly hinder God’s work.

Another way we can be “unrestrained in our appreciation” is to let people know we accept them. Being accepted is another basic need that is very strong in human beings. One of the simplest ways of showing you accept someone just as a person, is to smile at the person. A smile is so important. Have you ever watched someone’s face light up when you smile at them? I remember one time I was driving the car somewhere and my granddaughter was in the back seat. She had not had the best of days and was feeling somewhat gloomy. I looked at her through the rear view mirror and saw her sad little face. She happened to glance up into the mirror as I was looking at her. I gave her a big, loving smile. She seemed a little taken aback but then I could see the tension drain from her face, her eyes light up and she just had to smile back. What a transformation!

Praise is a powerful motivator: “Be generous in your praise!”

Ken Blanchard, in his book, The One Minute Manager, advises catching a person doing something right and then sincerely praise the person for one minute. But we need to remember that praise is not flattery. Flattery results in resentment. Praise must, at all times, be sincere and honest. Praise makes people feel important and people want to be important. It, too, is a basic human need. When you praise people for doing something right, it helps them feel good about themselves. This reflects God’s love.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to meditate on anything praiseworthy. But don’t stop there, take it one step further and do it. Praise the person who is praiseworthy not just think about it. In Proverbs 31:28, in reference to the virtuous wife, God says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:”

Offering sincere praise can do so much to encourage people. We all like to be appreciated, to receive approval and know we are accepted as a person. Praise reinforces those basic human needs. Never be afraid of praising someone. You will be amazed at the positive results.

These are only a few ideas of how we can “Win Friends and Influence People.” We can take these ideas and apply them to doing God’s work by being His ambassadors and setting right examples for all who come in contact with us. This includes our families and our Church families. We need to provide a safe, accepting, and peaceable environment for new people being called, to come into our congregations.

There is much work to do, so let us be doing God’s work in whatever way we can, and letting God’s love show through each of us

© 1995- United Church of God-Canada

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