What makes people crave a fruit like durian? Why do they light up when they see clumps of those prickly, greenish-brown husks hanging liberally from vendor stalls? How do they get past the pungent, even revolting, odor? What makes them fight their way through the thick, prickly outer husk in order to reach the inside?
The reason is that they’ve fallen in love with what’s inside. They know that inside the prickly outer shell, past the foul smell, there is an exquisite center.
Loving people and seeing the good and possibilities in others can sometimes be similar to getting to the heart of a durian. People can be prickly. They can have thick, crusty outer shells. Their presence can repel rather than attract. People can be stinky—when they do and say stinky things, or when they sin, as everyone does at times. But those barriers merely add to the challenge of reaching that sweet center of the inner person.
Durian is the king of fruits to some. Likewise, human beings are God’s crowning creations on earth—each one possessing a heart and soul that is more valuable and precious than all this world has to offer. Anyone who has truly looked inside another’s heart has seen great potential. Therein lies good. Therein lies possibility that just needs to be believed in and highlighted.
Everyone needs friends and family who love them, who know that there is good and possibility deep inside of them, and who are willing to work at it to reach that beautiful center.
Charles Schwab, the successful businessman, said, “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
Everyone wants and needs to be affirmed for his accomplishments. A little boy playing darts with his father said, “Let’s play darts. I’ll throw and you say ‘Wonderful!’” That’s what the [encouraging] person does for others.
We tend to become what the most important person in our life thinks we will become. Think the best, believe the best, and express the best in others. Your affirmation will not only make you more attractive to them, but you will help play an important part in their personal development.
As Christians, we cannot afford not to affirm others. If I fail to affirm a brother, we both lose.—John Maxwell (b. 1947), American author, speaker, and pastor who has written more than 60 books, primarily focusing on leadership.