For my words are wise and my thoughts are filled with insight. Psalm 49:3
Encouragers are hard to find. Discouragers are everywhere. One look, one word of criticism, and someone already fragile wants to throw up their hands and quit. Yet, when most of us think of someone who encourages, we picture a person who compliments and gives positive feedback. That is a weak translation. True, encouraging words are designed to penetrate to the core of anothers weakness.
I have to know someone well to give them comfort. I must know their life, their work, and enough about their family to understand where their sources of joy and pain exist. To know where to infuse spiritual courage, I have to be intuitive; knowing with just a look that they are not themselves on a certain day. If they put on a good face, I will see through it and not let it slide.
Ron and I hold a neighborhood bible study in our home each Sunday night. We are challenged each week to not allow the generic “good to see you!” to be the extent of our interaction. Ron and I want so much to engage like Christ would if He were the teacher of a small group. We have ruled out the assumption that to encourage is to give shallow compliments and parrot clichés. They don’t impart anything but anger and loneliness.
I have some rich encouragers in my life. And because I have experienced the power of Jesus in their words to me, I love to encourage others. I can’t wait to meet a stranger, hear their story, ask them where they struggle, and leave them with the words of Christ for where they faint. But if I’m drowning in my own challenges and don’t know how to abide in Christ, then I have no courage to give away. I have to work through my own issues with God because the promises of God, strategically spoken, are the lifelines others need. Encouraging words are meant to penetrate the darkness of anothers despair.
Out of your perfect knowledge of people, give me the Your words for them. Make them as honey for others wounds. In Jesus’ name, Amen