When I go to a restaurant and I have to park in a public parking garage, many times the attendant will hand me a ticket as I’m driving into the garage and tell me that the waitress will “validate” the ticket. That is, they will stamp the ticket, confirming I’m telling the truth, that I parked my car in the garage. Once the ticket is “validated” I can rest knowing the parking lot attendant will believe my story.
Validation is important in parking garages but is essential in small group life. Many times group members will reveal a part of their story never before verbalized. At that point the group member is anticipating the group will acknowledge her/his life situation, the pain the experience is causing them, that the enemy is using these past experiences to hold she/he captive, and that the group believes the revelation to be true.
But without acknowledging/validating the story the individual may never move forward and someday be free of that baggage. All of us must remember that validating the story is the first step, the step that must take place before asking the group member to go to work on the pain and baggage.
A few phrases to consider when validating:
- “Thanks for telling us about this. We believe in you and want to journey with you.”
- “I didn’t know that about you. We are honored that you told us even more about your past experiences.”
- “I believe you and I am here to help you any way I can.”
- “Thanks for courageously telling us the truth.”
What are some other phrases we might use to validate another small group member?