“A word of encouragement does wonders!” (Proverbs 12:25 TLB).
- You love and care for that person.
- You will pray for and help that person.
- You believe that person can change.
Paul did this in 1 and 2 Corinthians by beginning and ending with affirmation. For example, Paul starts one letter by saying, “I always thank God for you,” and ends with, “My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.” Between that he’s dealing with some very tough truths while also giving affirmation in the middle: “I have great confidence in you, and I have a lot of reasons to be proud of you” (2 Corinthians 7:4 GW).
Notice that Paul used the word “and.” Never use the word “but” in a confrontation. The moment you do, whatever you say before or after will be totally ignored and invalidated: “I think you’re a great person, but . . .” “We’ve been friends a long time, but . . .” Instead, use the word “and”: “You’re a great person, and I believe you can be even better.” “We’ve got a great relationship, and I believe there are some things we need to work on.” That’s what it means to affirm someone.