Filling out tax forms is an adventure. I’ve filled out several lately because I provide behavioral services for various entities. The question becomes, “How much should I withhold?” when, in reality, I want all of it.
Affection and encouragement are like taxes in the respect of how much is withheld. I work with lots of kids who hunger for affirmation, encouragement, and affection. Many personality and behavior disorders have root causes in lack of nurture, affection, and affirmation. There is a severe condition, Reactive Attachment Disorder, which can cause deep behavioral problems. When affirmation and nurture are absent from the human psyche, people suffer.
I was reminded of this recently when an adult expressed deep pain they experienced growing up in a Christian family, then later another adult expressed hurt from their church family. Both situations had a common denominator – lack of affirmation, encouragement and affection.
Not the smoozy-you-make-me-feel-uncomfortable-as-you-slobber-on-me affection or the “love-ya-kisses-and-hugs-superficiality” affection, but the omission of genuine, “You know, you’re alright” kind of affection. Affirmation of gifts, effort, and overall person-hood.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18
I’ll admit, encouragement is my top love language. I grieve when encouragement and affirmation is lacking among Christians and between parent and child. I had my own rude awakening years ago when one of my children expressed,
What an eye opener! Of course I was proud of them, but how often was it omitted from conversations, leaving a gap in their adolescent-starved-spirit?
This year, let’s not withhold anything.
That’ll bring great returns.