And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. –Hebrews 10:24-25
One of my favorite musicals is Man of La Mancha. In this story you meet a loony Spanish gentleman, Don Quixote, who thinks he is an honored knight, when in fact he is nothing of the sort. In this musical Don Quixote meets a lowly prostitute, Aldonza. He doesn’t know she is a prostitute; he thinks she is an elegant Spanish lady, a queen. Yet Don Quixote slowly changes the entire self-concept of this prostitute by constantly, unconditionally affirming her. What is amazing about the story is that when she begins to see herself differently, she begins to act differently. He even gives her a new name, Dulcinea, so that she will ever be reminded of her new identity and her potential. She becomes a brand-new person.1
Who is the Aldonza in your life? To whom can you offer positive encouragement? Who can you believe in even when he or she doesn’t believe in himself or herself? In order to affirm a person’s potential, you may have to look at that person with the eye of faith and treat him or her in terms of his or her potential, not his or her behavior.
Goethe, a famous philosopher once put this way:
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is, treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.”2
Again I ask, who is the Aldonza in your life? Who do you know who can become a Dulcinea? Today is the day to believe in him or her–and give him or her the gift of affirmation.
1. Read Ephesians 2:10. How does this verse apply to today’s reading?
2. Write three specific goals to help affirm the Dulcinea in your life this week.
1 Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion and Mitch Leigh, Man of LaMancha
2 Johann Wolfgang von Gothe, Wisdom Quotes.