But encourage one another daily.  Hebrews 3:13

     He was a poor wretch of a boy who didn’t seem to have a chance.  His dad was in debtor’s prison, he’d only gone to school for four years, and he was often hungry.  As a young man, he worked in a rat-infested warehouse putting labels on bottles, living in a drafty attic room in the slums of London.  But he wanted to write.  He mailed his first manuscript in the middle of the night, so no one would laugh at him.  After many rejections, his first story was accepted—but it paid nothing.  However, the editor praised his work.  That one bit of encouragement changed his life.  He wrote with greater desire and enthusiasm.  Had the editor not given words of affirmation, the world may never have heard of Charles Dickens. 

     We somehow seem to think that if we give affirmations, that person will not try to improve anymore. We don’t want them to think they’re perfect or anything. (God forbid they should feel good about themselves, right?) But what about this verse and many others that say we are supposed to lift others up and give them good words?

     David Murray (“The Happy Christian”) lists reasons/encouragements to help each of us become better encouragers:

  1. Encouragers imitate God. – You may not at first think of God as encouraging, but what about all the verses that tell us of His relentless, unfailing love and His lavish grace?
  2. Encouragers glorify God. – Read the writings of Apostle Paul. He is always saying, “I thank God for your faithfulness, your love, etc.”
  3. Encouragers don’t wait for perfection. – This has been my problem in the past. If your faults are so glaring to me (die-hard perfectionist), it’s hard for me to see something to praise in you.
  4. Encouragers open the door to change. – When we lift people up, they want to try harder.
  5. Encouragers help evangelism – Barnabas in the book of Acts was an encourager that helped the good news get a hearing because of his winsome spirit.
  6. Encouragers are honest. – Honest encouragers don’t manipulate people; they simply acknowledge something good that they see.
  7. Encouragers strengthen. – Research has proven that managers who recognize and encourage their employees see increased productivity.
  8. Encouragers go public. – It’s nice occasionally to praise someone in front of others.
  9. Encouragers are disciplined. – It takes discipline to encourage others, especially if you are naturally a critical person. It takes discipline to look for the good.

This is something I have worked hard on, and I want you to know that as you practice speaking life-giving words, it will become more natural. As you encourage others, you will be encouraged. As you strengthen others, you will be strengthened. As you make others happier, you will be happier, too!

*Who could you affirm today?

Lord, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart bring You joy today—and may I bring strength and courage to others! Amen.

The Way Counseling
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