When my son, Josiah, was three, he would often say, “I so proud” after catching one of us doing something “good”. I can still hear his raspy voice sputtering those words. Sweet words. Sweet boy.
“I’m proud of you” is a blessing given to many in the world of kid-dome. Josiah heard this expression and felt encouraged by it, and passed it on. Children often hear these words spoken by parents, teachers, and coaches; honey to their little souls. However, as they grow into adulthood, this affirmation is given less and less.
There are many people in my life of whom I’m proud. Not just my kids.
I watched my mom and step-dad move from state to state to care for my grandparents in their last years. What a touching act of love this was. I am watching my dad and aunt care for my grandmother in her nineties. My aunt handling the day-to-day responsibilities and difficulties; my dad traveling from SD to Phoenix to manage the finances. I am proud of all of them and affected by their example.
I see moms making tough, mature decisions about their kids. I see them sacrifice to the point of heroics. I admire friends going back to school, trying new careers, or staying in hard jobs to pay the bills. I view loved ones doing scary-brave things. People in my world are righting wrongs and fighting injustice. Some caring for ill parents and ill children, others in counseling and recovery. What admiration I have for them.
This is not the self-pride the Bible warns us of.
This is other-pride.
I am well pleased with you pride.
We find examples in God’s word:
~God refers to David as “A man after God’s own heart”. David strove to be who God wanted him to be in the midst of his humanity and sin. See 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22
~In the Parable of the Talents the master tells his servant, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” See Mathew 25:23
~In Mark 14:9 we see the disciples and others mocking a woman for bringing expensive oil to anoint Jesus. Jesus rebuked them saying, “Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me… She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.” The Message
~God is proud of His only begotten son. He says so in Matthew 3:17, “This is my son in whom I’m well pleased!”
Our culture today seems consumed with negativity and the tearing down of others. I see the name calling and threats to “unfriend” on social media because of political and religious differences. And the news! Watching the news is depressing enough, but in election season, it is downright dismal. The finger-pointing and mudslinging drive me to eat a lot of chocolate.
So, how do we abate this yuck? As we take our focus off the news (and chocolate), we find many precious ones in need of encouragement. People in our world desperate for sweet, uplifting words. A friend or family member who hasn’t heard “I’m proud of you!” for a long time.
Is it your heart’s desire to follow God instead of cultural negativity? To be a woman or man after God’s own heart? Truly, this is my desire. Other-pride is a great place to jump in. We can make a positive difference in a negative world by pouring kind words into our people. Honey to the soul.