Aren’t We all Different?

Romans 12:6

“We all have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesy, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Loving is all about giving.

But loving is all about receiving too.

Chapter Two is about words of affirmation.

[Reveal!]  My number three score is words of affirmation.  My profile score breakdown is 10, 9, 8, 2 and 1.  You can see that most of my points in my profile are in the top three languages and my number 8 is words of affirmation.  That’s a lot of points—27% out of the total.

What does that mean?  It means that I respond well to people telling me good things about myself.  The profile says:  “Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, ‘I love you,’ are important – hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. Kind, encouraging, and positive words are truly life-giving.”

Ok, I think this is right about me.

Does this mean that I am good at affirming others?  No it does not.  It just means that I like hearing those words from others.

In Chapter Two, we encounter Pastor Reuben, who loves preaching and his message is right on target with Dr. Chapman’s book.  His message is all about love.  He has affirmed his congregation and it has grown from 30 to 2,000.

This has come easy for him because his main love language gift is affirmation.  However, it is so true to life when his wife says that when he uses his words of affirmation on her “His words sound empty.”

What’s the problem?  This wife would rather the pastor run the vacuum, wash the dishes and do the laundry than tell her how much he loves her.

He has a gift of affirming and maybe he likes to be affirmed.  Dr. Chapman says when he went to Pastor Reuben’s worship service, the congregation shouted encouraging words during his sermon.  I guess even pastors like an affirming AMEN! once in a while.

Pastor Reuben needs to stop and think about his wife and see that she is different from his congregation.

Like a lot of us, he assumes that all people need to be affirmed.

Not so.

Some people don’t respond well to this type of love language, in fact it can even backfire.  It is well known in social psychology that there are people who will try to manipulate others with their words.  One of the most common ways to manipulate others is to tell them affirming words.  If you use affirming words to get something from someone else, the dark side of language use can occur.  People don’t want to be coerced into doing something.  Many would rather just have a clear request and skip the affirming talk.  That type of person refers to affirming words as “being buttered up.”

As I read Chapter Two about Pastor Reuben and his wife Patsy, the focus was on Reuben but I also thought about Patsy.  Maybe Reuben was using the wrong love language on Patsy but my hope is that Patsy knows to use words of affirmation on Reuben.

You see, people who like to receive words of affirmation don’t overanalyze the words they receive from others.   The just take them and like them.

I know.

Twenty-seven percent of my points are in “words of affirmation”.

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