One of the things we’re not always very good at is encouraging one another. Many of us will have been discouraged by criticism, harsh words or the indifference of others. For many of us that discouragement will have stunted our potential, crippled our spirits, held us back from being or doing all that we were created to do and to be.
It may have been a parent or a teacher who in trying to shape us has only succeeded in misshaping us, the power of those words tuning out all the positive things others might say. We grow up believing ourselves to be useless, worthless or just plain rubbish at most things. Or we may be jealous of other’s talents and abilities and seek to pull them down rather than build them up.
I watched a young man’s spirit wither under the scorching careless remark of a teacher. I have no idea what became of him in the end but the crushing blow to his person stayed with me for a long time. Someone else I know loved painting but through the harsh criticism of an art teacher has never painted from that day on.
I’ve written before about the power of words but I’m talking about more than that here. I am talking about having an attitude of encouragement to everyone. About the giving of unsolicited praise, about seeing people’s worth in the small things. For everyone stung by discouragement how many more have succeeded because someone believed in them? Someone took the time or trouble to say “well done”, “you made a good job of that”, “I really like the way you did that” and the greatest encouragement of all – “thank you”.
We can’t all be good at everything but we can all be good at something. I’ve often been envious of the talent and skill of others but I know how blessed I’ve been to be able to sing and play the piano, not concert standard but enough to bring pleasure to others. However if you were going to ask me to run a race to win, or try to play a ball game, forget it. Even though my father spent patient hours trying to teach me to catch and throw somehow I’ve never quite got it right.
But my parents believed in me, in all of us and tried to give us all opportunities to go with the things we were good at. I like to think that I am an encourager these days, that I say thank you to the girl at the check out, the cleaner in my hotel room, the bus driver, the postman, whoever adds something to my day.
Most of all I try to encourage children , my grandchildren, children at church, other people’s children, children wherever I go. I’ve seen the children blossom and grow, like flowers unfurling in sunshine just with a few encouraging words. I like these words from Mother Theresa
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
Founder Of The Missionaries Of Charity
Who’s kind words still echo in your ears? Who have you encouraged recently? Who haven’t you noticed before who could do with a kind or encouraging word?
Jesus was the greatest encourager of all, He made people feel good about themselves, even when they were seen by others as worthless or outcasts, those on the margins of society. He always had a kind word to say to those who needed it most. So go on try it today, you have no idea how good it will make you feel too!