Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Language of Appreciation

by Rev. James Wong

Everyone is encouraged by a good word or a word of appreciation in the work place, at home, in church or anywhere. A word of encouragement and appreciation can boost the moral and enthusiasm of a person to work harder and accomplish more.

The bible talks about the power of our word. In fact it is so powerful that it has a life and death effect.  “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words” (Prov 18:21 TEV). How can we have a good word often? We must begin to learn a new language, that is, the language of appreciation. Here are some good examples that we can put into good use.

1.   Encouraging word. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up” (NLT). Words that give courage, confidence and hope are known as encouraging words. A simple appreciation such as, “thank you for your good work” will boost the moral of the person doing the work. Some people are fearful for not being able to perform well and a word of encouragement will release their potential.

An encouraging word often brings healing to a relationship. To the church that had hurt him greatly, Paul wrote,  “I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge” (1 Cor 1:4-5 NLT). These were words that brought healing to a relationship that was already messed up with a number of unresolved issues.

2.    Right word for the right occasion. “Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” (Proverbs  15:23 NLT). We cannot be too generous or too stingy with our words. Both extreme will get us into trouble. Keeping a balance between the two is the wisdom of the tongue. Everyone will avoid people talking too much and there is no fun with someone who does not open their mouth.  “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11 NIV). Avoid ‘verbal diarrhoea’ but ‘quick to listen and slow to speak’ (James 1:19) so that we can judge wisely and have the right word for the right occasion.

3.    Avoid insulting words or cynicism.  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph 4:29 NIV). Negative words create a negative impression most of the time. We need to watch our words. It is not our intention that counts but the effect of the hearers that counts. How would others feel if I were to say this? Such question will put us on a safe tract in our comments or conversation. Some people just don’t care how people feel and that is the reason why they are under the ‘avoid list’ of many people and disdained  as such. Just like any language, the language of appreciation is a learned language. Let us learn to speak a good word about everything and about everyone.

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