The Power of Appreciation

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

Some of us cannot communicate with our loved ones. Why? Part of the reason is that we are unappreciative of them. You see, just as God requires us to "enter His gates with thanksgiving" (Psalm 100:4), so we gain access and the "right to speak" into the hearts of our loved ones through genuinely appreciating the good things we see within them. We must learn to be thankful for the people God has given us.

If you are not thankful for your teenagers, for example, your disappointment with them will ultimately drive them from you. Take time with them and sincerely communicate the things you appreciate about them. There are many good things about them that they need to hear you acknowledge. I am not saying we should not correct our children, but we must balance correction with appreciation and praise, reinforcing their sense of self-worth and value.

Because God has created us to be social creatures, we are born with an inner desire for acceptance. In fact, most of us probably desire acceptance more than righteousness.

By appreciating our loved ones, we affirm and settle the search for acceptance that compels them toward ungodly associations. Just as when property "appreciates," increasing in value, so appreciating our loved ones removes destructive tendencies created by self-hatred and fear of rejection. We inspire them to become better, not by harping on what is wrong with them, but by appreciating them. Appreciation causes their inner self worth to increase naturally.

There is something like radar inside the human heart that senses the displeasure of others. Displeasure and ingratitude are like a repellant to human relationships. People think, "If I cannot measure up, if you cannot see anything good in me, I'll go where people will accept me as I am." Thanksgiving, on the other hand, brings our loved ones closer to us, rather than driving them away.

Speaking of the people the Father put in His life, Jesus prayed, "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me" (John 17:6, KJV). One translation reads, "They are your gift to me" (v. 24 NAB). Jesus did not think of His disciples as always falling short or as a hindrance; rather, He welcomed them into His life as a gift of His Father's love. Did they fail Him? Yes. Often. But He received them as a gift from God Himself.

Likewise, your loved ones, your pastor and church are gifts from God. When Christ ascended, the Bible says "He gave gifts to men" (Eph 4:8). Your leaders, if they are godly men and women, they are a gift from God to you. Tell them you appreciate them. Indeed, I am deeply thankful to God for my wife and her love and support. Likewise, I thank God for my children and the people I served at my church; our pastors, elders and deacons are wonderful people. Are any of them perfect? No, but I appreciate them as gifts from the hand of God Himself.

I know married couples, however, who wind up discussing all that is wrong with their relationship every time they talk intimately. Why not stop talking about it and just do what is right? Do you understand? Ingratitude is "relationship repellant." Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is the doorway to oneness.

We ought to be the happiest, most joyful, earthshaking individuals the world has ever seen. God is for us. He has written our names in the Book of Life! That alone is more than enough to make us invincibly thankful, happy, glad and joyful.

Some of you have been gossiping and grumbling. It is time for a fast. From what? From grumbling. For the next thirty days, each time you are tempted to complain, find something for which to be thankful. Make lists of people and things for which you are thankful to God. Let's put an end to grumbling and complaining and become a people who possess the wonderful life of God!


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, A House United, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.