Practicing Affirmation: Highlights & Discussion Questions

Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God

by: Sam Crabtree

Despite the fact that Crabtree can be a little black & white in his communication style at times and you may have to nuance some things, if you can get over some of those things, the content of this book is pure gold.

CS Lewis wrote, “The world rings with praise- lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game- praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars, I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and capacious minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least.”

Rather than seeing encouragement and affirmation of others as stealing glory from God, Crabtree suggests that “we rob God of praise by not pointing out his reflection in the people he has knit together in his image.”

He also gives lists some benefits that come from affirmation:

1 Affirming others earns us the right standing from which to make suggestion. It gains us a hearing.
2 Affirmation lifts morale in the home, office & any where.
3 Affirmation energizes people. It not only lifts their spirits but motivates them to action.
4. Affirmation of others makes us easier to live with.
5. Striving to affirm others puts us in the practice of looking at them positively.
6. Affirmation constructively uses time that could have a been wasted complaining.
7. By commending Christlike qualities and celebrating them when we spot them, affirmation showcases the character of God, giving him honor for a being the kind of God he is.
8. Behaviors that are rewarded and celebrated are more likely to be repeated.
9. When we comment God’s image in people, God is glorified, and that why we were made—to glorify God.
Another highlight was thinking through how affirmation can heal broken relationships & the “importance of proportionality”- that corrections and affirmations are not weighed equally and there must be an over-abundance of affirmations, especially in relationships that weather the test of time… And that there’s a difference between affirmation and flattery: one is a free gift with no strings attached, whereas the other is empty and from a self-centered motive.
While I do not agree that every affirmation must be tied back to an attribute of God in the conversation, it pushed me to consider how I see God in people. Overall, I enjoyed the book and it’s been something that I hope shapes me as a mother, wife and friend.

Practicing Affirmation- Intro PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 1 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 2 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 3 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 4 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 5 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 6 PDF

Practicing Affirmation- Chapter 7 PDF

Let me know if you were able to use the questions & what you thought!

What did you think of the book? Were you able to filter & get past some of the points that seemed a little rigid and benefit from the overall heart of the book?


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