“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
For many years Henrietta Mears was director of Christian education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church. God gave her a wonderful insight into human nature. These are her words: “Whenever I meet a new person, I imagine them wearing a sign across their chest which reads, ‘My name is _________. Please help me feel important.’”
Where should we begin?
I have three suggestions. First, make sure you begin each day by saying an encouraging word to each member of your family. Have you ever had one of those “uh-huh” breakfasts? That’s what happens when you are too frazzled to talk intelligently to each other. “Would you like some coffee, sweetheart?” “Uh-huh.” “Don’t forget your lunch.” “Uh-huh.” “Where’s my geometry book?” “Uh-huh.” “Can I borrow a hundred dollars, Dad?” “Uh-huh.” “Would you like a dead rat with your scrambled eggs?” “Uh-huh.” We’ve all had mornings like that. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit. Take time to encourage each other before you go out the door.
Second, before you say a word of criticism, say a prayer for the person you are criticizing. If we criticize without praying, we run the risk of speaking in anger and saying things we regret later. But if we pray first, the venom is drained out of our words. We may even lose our anger completely and decide the criticism is unwarranted.
Third, when you feel the slightest urge to encourage someone, go ahead and do it. Put aside your work, get up from your desk, pick up the phone, write a note, pat someone on the back, say a good word to lift someone’s spirits. Try doing it for just one week. Who knows? It might become a permanent habit.
A second-grade boy was trying out for a part in the school play. When the day came for the auditions, his mother took him to school and waited for him to come out. She was nervous because she knew he couldn’t sing, couldn’t act, and couldn’t memorize very well. She was surprised when he came out with a big smile on his face. “How did it go, honey?” “It was great, Mom. Guess what? I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.”
In truth, that could be said about all of us. We have all been chosen by God to clap and cheer for our friends and neighbors. They need to hear it and we need to do it. Let the applause begin.
In these busy December days, as deadlines pile up and nerves get frayed, a smile and a kind word go a long way.
Be an encourager today!
Father, I pray for grace to smile more than I frown. Put someone in my path who needs a good word from me today. Amen.
Musical bonus: There are many versions of O Holy Night on YouTube. I kept coming back to this acapella rendition because you can feel the power of the words. Join me as we listen to O Holy Night by Martina McBride.
Click here to sign up for the free email sermons.