14: Building Each Other Up In The Home
In the last issue I talked about God’s call for us to build one another up. I continue to notice this in my reading of the New Testament this summer. (Some of these scriptures are listed at the end.) I would like to follow up the concept of building up one another with practical ideas this letter. Besides the specific instructions for children to rise up and call their mother “blessed” and for husbands to verbalize to their brides that “many daughters have done worthily but she excels them all” in Proverbs 31, I do not know of any other concrete ideas.
Since God has created us to build each other up, I thought it might be good to brainstorm on specific ways to do so. In fact if you have any input you would like to share with other readers I will add it to the next letter. Here is one note I received from the previous newsletter.
What a great reminder to me to be my kids’ head cheerleader and not the head criticizer! I’m letting you know that I’m going to endeavor to be “Mrs. Positive” with my kids for their last couple years here at home, and not what comes naturally (unfortunately).
So how we can we be the head cheerleader? My nature is to focus on what needs to be fixed instead of what is already working well. Here are some tips that have worked for me.
1. Pray. When you pray for someone your heart is drawn to them. The more I pray for someone the more I want to bless them. Often when going through my prayer lists, I am reminded to call or drop a note to the one I am bringing before the throne. Perhaps this is why Jesus encourages us to pray for one another AND for our enemies.
2. Seek for a fresh filling or renewing of the Holy Spirit. Since He is the one who will grant more love for the person we are seeking to encourage. When the heart is right then the love will flow and you will find ways to convey your care and affection.
- 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
- Romans 5:5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Titus 3:5 he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
3. Ask God to help you see your spouse or child as He sees them. For every birthday of my four sons, my wife carefully picks out a card. Then I have the privilege and opportunity to add a note. Before I write, I pause, and ask God to help me see the individual as He sees them. It is such an eye opening experience to see with God’s eyes. With his eye salve I see what is really important, like how they honor their mother, how they treat their siblings, their love for the truth, and I can go on and on. My earthly concerns pale when seen from an eternal perspective.
Revelation 3:18b and eye salve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.
But don’t just revel in God’s work, write it down. Wouldn’t you like to have a letter from your Dad telling you that he was so glad God gave you to their family and that you were the best thing since sliced bread? Then practice the golden rule and do unto others. Someday you will not be there. Make sure your spouse and children have a written record of your appreciation and love.
4. Praise them for what they do and who they are. For example. You could say “Good job for getting your work done on time.” Or you could say, “I appreciate your diligent spirit in getting your work done so quickly.” Both are true, but the second option praises them for their character as well as their deeds.
5. Make their birthday a day of honoring and appreciation. Cake is good, cards are nice (especially with money in them), presents are better, but being praised by those who mean the most to you, parents, siblings and relatives, and close friends is the best yet. For our sons’ annual celebrations we had all of the above elements. Most years we watched a set of slides focusing on their life from baby to the present. Then we would have an opportunity to go around the room and verbalize what we appreciated about them. This was followed by a time of pray for them and any specific events coming in the near future.
6. Learn their unique love language. I don’t see this in scripture, but it has produced good fruit in our home. Understanding that people express and receive love in different ways is very helpful. If nothing else, the fact that you have made the effort to learn ways to love someone so they are able to assimilate it, blesses the recipient. I recommend the Five Love Languages.
7. And in addition to asking God for divine assistance and focusing your imagination and creativity to make your spouse and children know that they are loved, consider asking them directly what encourages and discourages them. Talk about what communicates a sense of love and acceptance. Kids are pretty sharp and they know what reaches their heart.
God Bless you in building each other up in your home,
- Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
- Jude 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
- Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
- Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
- 1 Corinthians 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
- 2 Corinthians 10:8 For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed.
- 2 Corinthians 13:10 For this reason I write these things while I am away from you, that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.