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Encourage

 

encourage

Our pastor has told us before that he gets some pretty heavy condemnation on Monday mornings, critics of yesterday’s sermon or people with better ideas of how church should be done will often unload on him via email. I can imagine he dreads opening up his laptop at the beginning of each new week. He says the only thing worse than that is to receive it in person before, or between gatherings on Sunday mornings! Can you imagine?

I think we all have some idea of how he feels; does everyone have at least one person in their life who at any given moment, could be releasing harsh words on you as readily as encouragement? You take a look at your phone and see that a call/text/email is coming in from that person and you need to take some time before even touching it. Yuck.

There isn’t much I can do about that person in my life, except limit the access I have with them, out of a need for protection. If it were someone who I completely trusted, maybe I wouldn’t need a barrier, but if it were someone I completely trusted, maybe they wouldn’t need to bash. Right?

There is one thing I can do. I can resolve not to be that person to others. Can I have the self-discipline to communicate encouragement and positive observations when I am reaching out with the help of my phone? Of course I can, but it will take intentionality. If I truly feel the need to correct or critique someone, I want to do that with kindness and if possible, in person.

So when my pastor sees a text message pop up from me on a Monday morning (or any other day, for that matter), I want him to eagerly see what I have to say because he can expect nothing but encouragement from me. Heck, I want that for all my friends.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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Just Say It

encourageSeveral years ago I went back to the workplace after being at home with our children for about ten years. A close friend had started a company and it was beginning to take off, so as our last child entered school, I re-entered the workforce on a part-time basis. It was an office job in a two story building with many workers downstairs, and only the president of the company and the accountant upstairs, where I would become the third person on the second floor.

Within the first few days, the accountant and I realized we would become good friends, with many things in common and a mutual respect for one another. I don’t think I will ever forget something she did on one of my first days of employment; she came over to my desk and blessed me in the kindest way possible. The accountant looked me in the eye and smiled her beautiful smile and said, “I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are here, I have prayed for someone like you to come upstairs for a long time” and she went back to her desk.

The effect this had on me was profound. I was insecure about working again, and certain that I had nothing to offer the company and this kind woman spoke genuine encouragement to me when I really needed it. Honestly, I replayed her words over and over in my mind, because they made me feel so welcome and because it felt like affirmation that I was where I was meant to be. I’ve never told her how much her words meant to me, I doubt that she even remembers it because she inspires those around her regularly.

We have the choice to speak genuine encouragement into the lives and hearts of those around us every day, or to withhold those words out of fear, vulnerability and selfishness. Let’s choose to love.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

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