I love being the person who makes another person feel good about themselves. I like speaking words of encouragement to them and then watching them come alive. I know, probably more than most, just how powerful words can be.
The good thing about a person who likes to encourage is that they do it whether the other person needs it or not. They know how important it is to be sensitive to those with whom they interact.
I am sure I have mentioned before that I people watch. By people watching, I can tell immediately who the Encouragers are and who the Discouragers are. I want you to think about this. You know just as I do, the value that Encouragers bring. We know the traits they demonstrate; generally, they are happy, optimistic and positive people. We also know the Discouragers; they are just the opposite. Although they can be negative, pessimistic and unhappy, many times they display more subtle traits than that. In fact, you may not be able to really point to anything specific; you just feel it.
Discouragers may not ever say one discouraging or disparaging word, but what they can do is not acknowledge any good thing about you. They may be ones who withhold praise or stay quiet when someone else has something good to say about you. They don’t do or say anything to support you, although they claim to be your friend.
Which are you? Are you an Encourager or a Discourager? You may not be comfortable with giving compliments, but you can still encourage others.
I believe one form of encouragement is seen in actions. We can “love” the way Jesus told us to do when He said to “love one another.” Life is hard and people are facing challenges every day. People we meet or those we interact with each day are facing things that we know nothing about. People are facing loss, whether in the form of a divorce or a loss through death. Others are going through the loss of a job, while others may be dealing with grave illnesses, addictions, family problems, work problems, foreclosures, or jail. These are real life issues and some will share while others will not. You may be the difference in whether they keep going or give up, in whether they succeed or fail. You don’t have to show sympathy–that’s not encouragement. What you should do is inspire another person with the courage they need to keep on going. No, you may not be comfortable speaking words of affirmation to others, but you can do other things to encourage those around you.
Be careful and watch the words you use with your children and grandchildren no matter how frustrated you might get with them. If you are upset, always tell them that you love them and then tell them why you may be disappointed. If you are frustrated with your spouse, do the same. If you have an obnoxious friend that might drive you nuts, pray for yourself and be intentional in praying for them. If you have a friend who seems to always achieve & get what they want, to include compliments, don’t begrudge them, encourage them to keep on achieving and thank God for their achievements and blessings. All of the good that you do in speaking well of and to others, will come back to you. In the end, God commands us to encourage one another. You want to obey Him, don’t you?
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11)