Saturday, February 24, 2007

Everybody wants to feel valuable, respected, important. Everyone likes to be honored, recognized, and affirmed.

Some people take advantage of this human longing by flattering people, telling them what they want to hear, or giving them recognition in order to manipulate them or use them selfishly.

We are all turned off by the politician or salesman who gives us special treatment in order to get our vote or sale.

On the other hand, a person can, as Jesus did so well, acknowledge a person’s worth and value as God’s image bearer by giving them attention and respect. Consider His friendly and respectful treatment of the woman at the well.

In either case, it is natural for a person to be attracted to someone who treats them with respect and in a way that acknowledges their worth.

What's the difference between approprite honor and dispicable manipulation?

I think that the keys are TRUTHFULNESS and MOTIVE. If I attempt to "butter someone up" by saying what is not true, it is evil. If my motive is self-centered, to receive something from them or to get them to do something for me, it is wrong.

However, if my affirming words are honest and truthful, and my motive is to show respect to God's image-bearer for their encouragement and benefit, it is probably right and good. It calls for a motive check: is my motive to get or to give; to use or to bless; to manipulate or to edify?

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