I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another (Romans 15:14).
The Apostle Paul has just spent a few chapters correcting the Christians in Rome in how they were behaving, and at times, Paul will admit, he can come off a little strong. This is understandable when dealing with truth that has eternal implications. When you’re dealing with spiritual matters, a lot is on the line; so it’s no wonder Paul pulls no punches. But notice this: after he’s finished with the strong words, he begins to affirm and encourage them in all the things they have right. He acknowledges their good deeds, and their in-depth knowledge of the Gospel, and he lets them know that they are doing a great job helping each other walk with the Lord. We can learn from this, especially as teachers, leaders, parents or supervisors—really anyone who is discipling someone. All too often, it’s all about correction and instruction. It’s easy to catch people doing what’s wrong, but we forget to notice when they are doing what’s right. Positive affirmation makes all the difference in the world in our personal relationships—a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down! If you’re missing a piece of the puzzle, you never get the full picture. So, along with any kind of exhortation or correction, let’s not forget the sugar—the sweet acknowledgement all the good things!