The Gift of Encouragement
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
Proverbs 12:25 NLT
When I think about encouragement, I remember the character Aibileen from The Help. (If you have not seen this wonderful movie, I highly encourage you to watch it.) Abilene would regularly tell Mae Mobley, the young girl she cares for, “You is kind. You is smart. You is special”. Aibileen recognized that she was in a position to give her young charge much needed encouragement that she was not receiving from her neglectful mother. Children need encouragement and so do adults. As we get wrapped up in the busyness of life, it’s easy to forget how much words of kindness can mean to someone.
Like Aibileen, we all have people in our lives who could benefit from our kind words. Specific affirmations let people know that they are seen and you are aware of what they are going through. One of my friends recently went through an ugly divorce. Through the long and painful process, I admired her faith, strength, and grace. I made sure to tell her often, hoping to provide a boost of encouragement on those days when she was feeling beaten down. When my husband is having a stressful week at work, telling him that I appreciate how hard he is working to provide for our family would mean a lot to him. I need to remember to share this gratitude with him. If we keep thoughts of admiration or appreciation in our heads without verbalizing them to others, we lose the opportunity to encourage people. For those of us raising children, we have the unique ability to build our children up, make our home a haven where they can be renewed when they are feeling insecure due to challenges in school, critical coaches, or social drama helping them confidently step into their identity in Christ and fulfill the plans God has for them.
Our opportunity to encourage others goes beyond our inner circle. Suppose you witness the customer in front of you at the store giving the clerk a hard time. When your turn comes, you could say, “that person was being difficult. You handled the situation well.” Kind words can turn someone’s day around. We are Christ’s ambassadors. Every day we have the opportunity to show love to others in the same way he showed love to us.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NLT
One of the simplest ways to show Christ’s love and give comfort to others is through kind words and encouragement. Who can you encourage today?