Practicing Affirmation Interview

June 22, 2011

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The BCC Author Interview Q & A with Sam Crabtree

As part of our BCC vision, we want to help you to get to know gifted Christian authors and their books. This week we’re highlighting Sam Crabtree as he talks about his book Practicing Affirmation. You’ll also benefit from reading our BCC Review of Practicing Affirmation.  

BCC: “What is the basic premise of your book, Practicing Affirmation?” 

SC: “God is at work everywhere and He intends for His work to be seen and affirmed. That’s why He made the universe. He is at work in the people around you, and failure to commend the commendable robs refreshment from all relationships, including your relationship with God.”

BCC: “You explain that the commendation of human beings deters feeding their sinful pride? Tell us more about that view.”

SC: “By drawing attention to the work of God in the person, God gets the credit (the one who does the work gets the glory) while the person commended receives the enjoyment of having his actions appreciated.”

BCC: “Some may counter, ‘Are you trying to bolster a person’s self-esteem? Isn’t the praise of man idolatrous?’”

SC: “No, God-centered affirmation of a person does not puff a person’s self-esteem, because God is the one being honored. While the praise of those who are not God can be idolatrous, the Bible praises many persons, and in fact, there is something defective about a person who does not want to get to heaven some day and hear God himself say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

BCC: “What does ‘God-centered praise of those who are not God’ look like? What do you mean by ‘commending the commendable?’”

SC: “The most commendable thing in the universe is Christ, and the most commendable thing to commend in people is Christlikeness. See it, and affirm it in them. Even unbelievers are stamped in the image of God; be on the lookout for it and honor Him and refresh them by verbalizing it.”

BCC: “What does affirmation practically look like in a marriage? Parenting?” 

SC: “Spot any aspect of Christlikeness in your family member—honesty, patience, diligence, creativity, endurance, faithfulness (there are easily dozens of such commendable qualities)—and then say something like, ‘God is developing the beautiful quality of (hospitality, generosity, orderliness, etc.) in you. I want to be like you as you are becoming like God in that way.’ It’s that simple. But such brief conversations inject immeasurable freshness and encouragement into relationships, while God gets praised for being the Source of such good things.”

BCC: “How can incorporating affirmation into everyday relationships change the dynamic of the relationship?” 

SC: “Relationships dominated by correction or indifference begin to atrophy, drift, alienate. But a regular pattern of affirmations of important qualities enlivens and sweetens any relationship.”

BCC: “Does your book give any help for people who feel like they’ve tried affirmation, but they still feel like their relationship is ‘stuck?’”

SC: “Check out its list of 100 ways to affirm for those who feel they are stuck.”

BCC: “How have you experienced the power of affirmation in relationships?”

SC: “In the days when I was a school teacher, I saw how practicing affirmation could gain a hearing with the most ‘sociopathic’ students. I have seen it amazingly reverse the pattern of teenage ‘block-out,’ a time when many teens turn deaf toward their parents. Healthy affirmation can keep that from happening in the first place, and in the book I describe a couple cases where long-term alienation was amazingly reversed in a single brief conversation. I can’t imagine my pursuit of effective fathering or husbanding without generous doses of affirmation.”

BCC: “Thank you, Sam. It has been instructive to learn more about your insights into biblical affirmation.”

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