The power of encouragement

May 27, 2020 · Print This Article

Can you remember being encouraged by a parent, teacher, boss or friend? A few simple words – well done, excellent, that’s great, thank you or something along those lines. How did it make you feel? Uplifted, inspired, motivated wanting to do it again? Think about a baby learning to walk, falling again and again, but with parents saying, “Well done, you can do it, that’s great!” however many times the baby fails. Never a comment about failing, just simple, constant encouragement with a smile and enthusiasm. What happens? The baby learns to walk, even before he or she can understand language.

That is the power of encouragement in action. If only we could take that attitude and carry it into every area of our life. But somewhere along the way we forget to be encouragers. We get worn down by life; by financial, work or family pressures. By the feeling that we are not in control. Those stresses and strains can change us, make us irritable, make us less inclined to reach out and encourage others, because we ourselves feel the need for some encouragement first.

It is easy to think we live in a negative world and there’s nothing we can do about it, but if we want to change the world we must begin first with ourselves! No one will deny that we live in a world that seems to pile more pressures on us almost daily, but we can choose how we respond – to look up to a sunny future or down to a muddy present. It also helps tremendously when we meet people who give us encouragement.

One of my bosses in the past was very sparing in his praise but at least once a year, usually around Christmas, he would come into my office and thank me for all my hard work in the previous year. Sometimes he even wrote a note of appreciation that he gave me as well. That little bit of encouragement made all the difference to my attitude. I wanted to do better, to work harder, to earn that encouragement again.

So the thought occurred to me that it would be good to write and publish a book of encouragement. Thinking about it, getting more and more excited, imagine my amazement when I discovered such a book had already been written and published! In it I found a statement, “casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you”.1

That lifts a load of stress and worry of us immediately. It also enables us to be less focused on ourselves and more able to give encouragement to others. How about this from the same book? “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body”.2 That sums up what encouragement does for people, it is not just good to hear it’s also good for our health.

Space does not permit me to give other examples but they are there in abundance in this amazing book, the Bible. If you don’t know where to start, the Proverbs section is full of encouraging sayings. Why not give it a try? Not because you are religious but because you want to be encouraged yourself and find the strength to encourage others, whatever your immediate circumstances.

It may surprise you to discover that as you consciously use the power of encouragement to help others, you will find more people will start to encourage you.

As the book itself says, “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously”.3

Why not try the power of encouragement? It will make a real difference to other people, and to yourself.

Keith Hartrick

Keith is an editor at Because.

1 The Bible – 1 Peter 5.7
2 The Bible – Proverbs 16.24
 3 The Bible – 2 Corinthians 6.9
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