Granddaughter Claire at the piano
When Claire, our five year old granddaughter, is about to do an impromptu dance routine in the middle of the living room floor or has sat down at the piano to play her own tune, she turns, looks at me, and says, “Papa, you be my clapper.” Sometimes she says it differently, but it’s the same request, “Papa, clap to me.”
We all need people who will clap to us, people who will encourage us, praise us, tell us we’ve done a great job. We all need to be clappers for others, to encourage them, praise them, tell them they’ve done a great job.
This is a tough world where it’s easy to get hurt, to be pushed down to the point where it’s hard to get back up again. This is a fallen world where everything and everyone is broken in one way or another. This a world of a war zone, evil fighting good, and we’re all getting attacked and often wounded, sometimes seriously so.
This is why we so need to be encouraged and to be encouragers. No one can make it on their own.
So it’s okay to accept encouragement; let’s not exhibit misguided humility, rejecting the affirming words of another. Even if we feel we don’t deserve it, we should accept it anyway, as a gift. God knows we need it!
It’s important that we give encouragement. Sometimes we withhold praise to another because no one’s been praising us lately so why should we give what we haven’t received? We have to quit trying to keep the ledger of praise balanced between the receiving and giving; it does no one good. Sometimes it appears the other person is already puffed up with a big ego, that they certainly don’t need more praise from us. Wrong! It’s a childish defense mechanism they’re implementing to compensate for feeling poorly about themselves, telling themselves, and trying to tell others, that they are great and doing great when down deep they are lying both to self and to others. They need the truth of some honest praise!
Everyone finds themselves crawling on bloodied knees, having been knocked down by blows from this rough and tough world. A word of encouragement is the strong arm that lifts us back up on our feet again so we can continue the journey. Everyone’s crying out “Clap to me!” “Be my clapper!”
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” The apostle Paul in his letter to some Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:11)