3 Reasons to Combat Correction with Encouragement

Posted by Kaley Thompson Life is hard to do with other people.  You have friends, family, children, spouses, co-workers, and the everyday Joe’s you bump into at the coffee shop.  Each time you encounter them you have a good or bad experience.

When your sister doesn’t call you back for the fifth time what do you say?  How do you handle the fact that your spouse forgot about your important work dinner? What do you do when your child directly disobeys you? Why does Joe keep cutting in front of you in line?

There are a two basic ways we can react towards other people who have given us a negative experience - correction and encouragement. While it’s human nature to want to fix everything that other people are doing wrong, offering support tends to give bad situations a positive outlook.

Here are 3 reasons to combat correction with encouragement:

1. Correction exposes only what is negative. Encouragement points out flaws but doesn’t let them outweigh favorites.  

Correcting tends to blindside us from the good things someone else may have done for us previously.  Yes, your friend probably shouldn’t have said that about you.  But they also were the person who was there for you when you needed someone most. As you share with them how they hurt you, also tell them how helpful their support has been in other areas. Praise what you want repeated.

2. Correction says, “You’re wrong, I’m right.” Encouragement says, “Something is wrong, let’s make it right.”

A corrective blow immediately pins “you” and “I” against each other.  If we decide to fight from the stance of encouragement, the word “let’s” immediately takes off the boxing gloves and puts everyone involved on the same team. No one takes punches.  No one gets knocked out.  Everyone works together to find a solution and can move on towards repair.

3. Correction cuts deep. Encouragement heals.  

If you’ve been stabbed and patted on the back, which one will you think is coming when someone raises their arm at you again?  Guaranteed you’d expect the worst and flinch to protect yourself.  The same goes for our words.  What we choose to say and how we choose to say it can build up or break down our relationships.  Speak words that wound and they’ll hang around like scars forever, putting someone else always on the defense.  But if we say things that mend what’s hurting, we can become healers in each others lives. A wise man once told me, “Those who victimize are a victim.”  When tension rises in relationships, take a second to realize that the person who let you down may be closer to rock bottom than you think. Fight the desire to fix them by flipping the situation. You can’t correct what you don’t know is wrong but you can be certain that every person needs encouragement.  Let your words give hope, offer grace and extend second chances.

kaley thompson