Several days ago, I sat in a long drive-thru line for over fifteen minutes after ordering. Horn blasts from the car behind me occurred several times, as if those in front of him could hurry the process. When I finally made it to the window, the eyes of the young attendant glistened with unshed tears as she managed to say, “How are you?” I answered and asked her the same. She made a little noise and shrugged but couldn’t answer. It didn’t take much to realize she had received harsh words from at least one of the people in line ahead of me.
So many in our world are in a hurry, impatient, and quick to take out their frustration on the nearest target. Some words hurt, especially when you are the recipient in circumstances beyond your control, but words also have the power to heal and encourage.
Following are thoughts on the power of encouragement:
Often, we are quick to judge based on outward appearance or perceived inadequacy or incompetence. However, we don’t know what others have been through or are currently experiencing. And remember, unattractive doesn’t equal unwise, unintelligent, or unfeeling. You may be the only person to speak positive words to someone who has experienced a lifetime of verbal abuse and crushing negativism.
One of my high school teachers frequently spouted the phrase “it’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” She usually targeted those who didn’t pay attention and then tried to come up with an answer when called on.
Sometimes, we say the first words that pop into our heads, but there is merit in thinking before speaking, and in not allowing emotions to control the tongue. Think about the impact of your words on those with tender spirits.
“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 NIV).
Sometimes we hesitate to make ourselves available to others, but it doesn’t take much to let them know you are thinking about them during a difficult season of life. An uplifting text message, a handwritten note, or impromptu invitation for coffee could make the difference in someone’s day, or week.
“Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT).
Build Up Instead of Tear Down
Often, we’re quick to criticize, but instead, what if we were quick to encourage? Anyone can find fault, but those who are wise know the power of encouragement. Encouragement provides hope, spurs forward motion, instills self-confidence, and adds self-worth.
Do you know someone who could benefit from words of encouragement today? Perhaps it is someone you don’t know, but meet in a casual encounter. Keep your eyes open and your heart attuned. Then, bestow the gift of encouragement.
“The lips of the godly speak helpful words” (Proverbs 10:32 NLT).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com,andWriter’s Digest. Candy’s books includeLife on Pause: Learning to Wait Well(Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care(Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide(B&H Publishing Group).
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