Corrections Weigh More Than Affirmations

The drag that corrections have on a relationship is compounded by the fact that they already outweigh affirmations - they have greater impact individually. The sting of a rebuke outweighs the fresh whiff of a bouquet. A person sniffing the flowers when a bee stings quickly forgets the flowers even if the bouquet is very large. If a pattern of corrections is outweighing the affirmations, the sting stays with us, and the corrections keep picking the scab. It takes many affirmations to overcome the impact of a criticism, because criticisms are heavier and sting more. Worse than a bee sting, criticism can be like a sword thrust: "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Prov. 12:18). When the Bible describes some words as sword thrusts, we are helped to understand how painful words outweigh healing words. It simply won't do, when a sword wound has been inflicted, to put salve and a bandage on a wound for one minute, or one hour, or one day. It takes more time to heal than to wound. So it is with affirmations and corrections. It can take a lot of affirmations to heal a particularly painful correction, even if the correction was as necessary as the wound from an emergency appendectomy.

Sam Crabtree, Practicing Affirmation: God-Centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2008); 47-48.

Ugh. I don't know about you, but my correction/affirmation ratio is all screwed up. May we correct when necessary, but may we never bypass an opportunity to affirm God's grace in others.