How to Harness the Power of Encouragement to Change Lives for the Better
The book of Proverbs says that “saying the right thing at the right time is like a golden apple in a silver setting.” In the New Testament, readers can regularly see Jesus commending those he meets. He calls Nathaniel “a man of complete integrity,” stating that John the Baptist was the greatest person to have ever lived immediately after John questioned whether Jesus was the Messiah and praised His disciples during the Last Supper for sticking with him.
Clearly, using the power of encouragement is one way to be more like Jesus and to show Jesus’ love, light, and caring nature to the world. The only question is, how can one go about it? Following are some tips to help would-be encouragers get started on the right track.
Thinking Encouraging Thoughts
Jesus clearly stated that what comes out of a person is largely dependent on what is inside a person. Those who continually think negatively about themselves and others will have a hard time encouraging others when the need arises.
Make it a habit to think at least one positive thought about each person who comes across your path. Then, put what you’re thinking into words. You don’t have to be eloquent; just make sure you are honest.
Look for Hurting People
Unfortunately, you don’t have to look hard to hurt people in today’s world. The homeless man at the traffic light, an upset child who perhaps just flunked a test, a stressed-out spouse, an angry boss, or a bereaved neighbor could all use a word of encouragement.
Encouragement in such instances will naturally mean more than just a few cliches such as “I hope you feel better tomorrow” or “I’m sure things will turn out OK.” Some good ways to encourage people in difficult situations include:
- Sharing a song or verse
- Write an encouraging note
- Accompanying the encouragement with an offer of practical help
- Letting someone know you are praying for them
Encourage Yourself as Well
As odd as it may seem, encouraging yourself regularly will help you encourage others as well.
It’s hard to be a positive, encouraging person when you continually think negatively about yourself. Putting yourself down makes it impossible for you to see the good not just in yourself but also in other people.
If you have good self-esteem, you can praise someone for something they did well even if you are not able to do the same thing as well as he or she did. Commending the colleague who got the promotion you wanted or praising a relative who is better at decorating her home than you are can seem difficult, but it is possible if you are content with your own lot in life.
The power of encouragement can change lives, as the person who has been encouraged will often “pass it on,” encouraging others who then encourage those they live and work with. Even better, it points people to Jesus by showing them a living example of His love, care, and concern. It may take time and effort to learn how to be a good encourager, but the end result is more than worth it.