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Encouraging words

‘Dual Affirmation’ is the ability to tell someone they’ve ‘done good’, and go deeper to tell them why and what made such a difference. Paul gives thanks for and thoroughly commends the Colossian Christians for their faith, hope and hunger ‘in Christ’. This makes Coach Paul’s focus on helping them play even better and avoid the opposition’s tricks and traps. 

It’s a joy to sit with someone after a game to affirm the difference their actions, attitude and character made to team and game. You may simply let them enjoy the glow of encouragement and leave the ‘things to work on’ to training. But constructive criticism modelled by St Paul lists positives before exposing negatives to work on. 

But sometimes we fall into the ‘Sin Bin’; sent off for good reason, there’s little good to be drawn from such behaviour except the ability to learn and say “Sorry!” to all we’ve wronged. Do you quickly defend yourself and deny wrongdoing? Or, Do you stew in sin and afford yourself little grace? However you tend to react or respond to correction and discipline, Jesus’ response to the two crucified thieves, either side of him, and his cry of “Father Forgive!” remind us of the amazing grace and fresh starts God gives.

 

Great Father of Lights and Love, 
you know through and through: how I respond to affirmation and criticism.
Continue to assure and show me how deeply you adore me. 
Change me in and through all things (the good, bad, ugly and beautiful) 
into the likeness of Christ. 

 

May your “Yes!” in Jesus inspire me to live well. 
Help me to reject the negative “No!” 
of ‘World, Flesh and Devil’. 
Teach me to discern the difference between 
Holy Spirit conviction converts to Christ 
and the Devilish downing which leads 
to self-loathing and stewing in negativity. 

 

I lift my head and heart 
into the warming and affirming sunshine 
of your dual affirmation, love and delight in me. 
Amen.

Colossians 1:3-14 (NIVUK)

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 
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