The power of encouraging someone is in our hands. God gives us His power to bridge the gap in times of need and doubt. We can feel His joy when reaching out our hands to touch another person’s heart. You can help Him build up others into the men and women they are meant to be.
When I was a preteen, walking through a hospital ward to visit my ill father, my mother became visibly upset. She told me that she recognized a nurse that helped her when she was in the hospital, hooked up to a drip, in the hopes of stopping my premature birth. The nurse told her that it would be better if I died. It was 1970, and my mother was 35 and had eight children already. The hope of a good outcome was more remote than now. That may be in part why she said that to my mother, but what the nurse did not know is what God had in mind for my life. Neither did my mother. However, my mother knew it was not for her, or the nurse to decide.
1 Thessaloanians 5:10-11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Seeing others flourish as they are built up to do His purpose, helps us understand the difference between God’s perception of reality, and our incomplete understanding of our own lives in moments of crisis and doubt. We just need His perspective.
Remember Human Dignity
I was born premature at 3 pounds and 5 ounces, and afflicted with cerebral palsy, but God made me for His purpose. It was up to my parents to put me in the right environment and build me up, so I could grow into the person only God foreknew.
Genesis 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
We often try to look into the future and predict what God has not revealed to us. Trust the future to the Lord, for God’s wisdom and love is above our own. The right way is plain as day to Him. The above image is just a snapshot of my time in Romania as a medical missionary to those with disabilities. The bulk of my career has been in hospitals working with those afflicted by medical conditions such as stroke, cancer, and trauma.
Bring Kind Words
Words are a very powerful thing. Despite the phrase said to schoolyard bullies that their “words can not hurt me”, we all know some of the most powerful and hurtful things are negative words said by others. My mother reacted strongly to the nurse over a decade later, reopening an old wound, so profound that I still can still remember the moment about 35 years later. I am not mad at the nurse for saying that I should probably die, but it is a powerful reminder to me that I must watch my own words, as I encourage and help others. The right words can boost the soul and make a very stressful situation more bearable.
Proverbs 12:25 “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”
You can bring reassurance that they are in the right environment, doing the right things, and that the tapestry of their life will unfolded as God has determined.
R.C. Sproul suggested an exercise in a great message on criticism and compliments in his intimate marriage series:
“Write down the five most meaningful compliments that you ever received in your life”
What are your five?
Are you surprised who said them to you?
How have they positively affected your life over the years?
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1984 (1 Th 5:10–11). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995 (Ge 1:27). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2016 (Jas 2:15–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.