I think encouraging one another is important enough to give you an assignment to practice it this week. Your assignment, your mission—if you choose to accept it—is to only speak encouragement to one another this week, in your home, at work, at church, and when you are with your friends.
That means not saying or doing anything that could be discouraging. That means no complaining, no grumbling, back biting, or negative talk. It means not giving any criticism—even positive criticism. It also means no theological head-slapping: meaning when someone says, “Good luck,” you can’t retort “there is no such thing as luck, only providence.”
Instead, tell people why you are thankful for them. When you see someone who is down or hurting ask them if there is anything you can do to help; or give them a call, or a text, or an email saying that you know they are hurting and that you are thinking of them and praying for them…and don’t just say that, actually do it—pray for them. When you see someone who needs reminded of the grace, mercy, love, and promises we have in Christ, take the time to sit with them and help them however you can. Sometimes that may mean sitting and saying nothing. Just your presence can be deeply encouraging. Look for what people are doing right. When you see someone do something right, or good, or encouraging, recognize it and praise them for it.
“But who is going to correct him when he is wrong, if it’s not me? How is she ever going to know if I don’t tell her?” you say. I will make one exception to this, if you are a parent with kids, you feel free to correct them, but try to do it in an encouraging way. To the rest of you I say that you are not the only tool in God’s toolbox! God is not going to be shorthanded because you are taking a week off. If God wants him or her told that something is wrong, taking you out of the picture does not leave God in a lurch with one hand tied behind His back. In fact, it may be what He wants. Paul says in Ephesians 4:29 (NIV), Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up [i.e., encouraging them] according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Let God do the convicting, you do the encouraging.
Now I know that no one is going to be perfect at this. Perfection is not the point. The point is to take this seriously. I propose that each household get two glass jars of equal size and some dried black beans and dried navy beans (you may want to get a pair of jars for each member of your house). Every time someone says something encouraging put a navy bean in one jar. If what they say is very encouraging make it 2-3. Likewise, whenever someone says something discouraging, put a black bean in the other jar; and if is really discouraging but in 2-3. At the end of the week you will have an objective picture of how you are doing. What do you say? I’ve got mine. Let’s give this more than lip service. Let us live for God through Christ and encourage one another.
Wow! This is a challenge and a half! I’ll no doubt fail BUT In Christ I’m a success, I’m loved, forgiven and accepted. Thanks for sharing.
Lol! I know what you mean. But it is very telling to see how we really are and not just guess how we really are isn’t it?
I am thankful for you pastor Dan because you have always just been my friend. No pretext, no expectations other than open and honest as far as I was capable of being open. You have become a mentor and reminded me church is important. Some churches don’t have the Godly actions they should but that shouldn’t reflect upon the church as a whole. I’ve learned much and I just wanted to tell you “I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU”. I have and am growing as a person with you in my life.
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