Tag, You're It!

I heard a sermon this morning about the power of encouragement. It was based on the scripture where Jesus gave Simon his new name – Peter (Matthew 16:16-18). Now the name Peter means “rock,” so Jesus basically renamed Peter ... “Rocky.” What an encouraging moment that must have been for Peter. Can you imagine how his chest might have puffed up when the disciples yelled, “Hey, Rocky, can you help me with this?” Or, “Uh, Rocky, I need a word of advice.” I bet, after those affirming words from Jesus, Rocky tried to do anything and everything he could do on behalf of the Kingdom.

We all need a sincere, encouraging word now and then. A derogatory comment or negative feedback can feel like a whack on the side of the head, a punch to the stomach – especially if we were doing our best. It brings us down, sometimes for just a few minutes. But for too many of us, we continue to remember those words, play them over and over in our mind, and may feel discouraged for hours, even days or years.

I think I told you, I have played the organ and piano at church since the age of 12. But, when we would get home from church, my first husband often said, “Can’t you ever play through the entire hymn without making a mistake.” Even so many years later, I can still hear his accusing words ringing in my head … “making a mistake, making a mistake.” And then, sure enough, I make another mistake

Various studies have shown that it takes 5 positive comments to overcome one negative comment. In my case, even though I have received a lot of positive feedback over the years, I can still hear those cruel words from the past undermining my efforts. I still find it difficult to play through a tune without “making a mistake,” because those words were embedded in my brain so often.

Do you remember playing tag in the neighborhood or playground with your friends?  If you were tagged, you became "it" and had to chase the others.  Well, I’ve been tagged. I am “it” now and have made it my personal mission to be an encourager. I got tagged with a negative, but I’m chasing others to pass on a positive instead. And don't worry, I'm not going to tag just one person. I plan to tag every musician with whom I come into contact, sharing my view of what I saw or heard that was well done. I don’t need to say a word about what was less than perfect. The musician is already VERY well aware of any mess-ups.

How about you? Do you know anyone who needs to hear some positive feedback and an encouraging word? Tag, you’re it! Get out there and share some affirmative, enthusiastic, appreciative feedback with a musician (or anyone) who surely really needs to hear it.



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