Encouraging Words Make a Difference
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love.—Colossians 2:2 When people are encouraged, they are more likely to be united and generous toward one another in actions and in spirit. Our English word for “encourage” means “with heart.” So to encourage someone is to give that person a new heart—a new sense of courage, strength or the ability to carry on.
Shallow sentimentalism can actually make people feel worse. Most of our lives don’t turn out like Hallmark specials. But genuine, spiritual encouragement brings out the best in people and can help all of us get through hard trials and daily living. Our purpose for ministering to people is to encourage them. If we all made that our daily purpose, to encourage at least one person, to offer real, selfless love, to care about the people we meet, then we earn the right to share our faith and make a difference in people’s lives.
My wife and I had a friend, an older woman who has since gone to heaven. While she was with us, I watched how she encouraged people wherever she went, every time we were around her. Strangers, friends, family—anyone she met. She took the time to ask about their lives, to care about their interests, and to encourage their gifts. The Lord opened many doors for her to share her Christian faith, and people responded because they knew she genuinely cared and they felt encouraged in her presence.
I hope each of us can make encouragement our purpose and be that person who lifts others’ spirits and allows them to see the love of God through encouraging words.
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.” —William Arthur Ward