In last week’s devotional, the topic of relationships was discussed. In having a healthy and happy relationship there is an element, that is Biblical, that today’s topic will encompass. If one takes a look around, it is not hard to tell that this world is filled with a lot of mean and negative news. Whether it be coming from a news broadcast hearing how someone murdered another, to someone on the internet making fun of someone they don’t even know, or even to bullying at school. The world seems to have lost the connection of encouragement in relationships. Encouragement can have effects physically and spiritually on a person.
What does it mean to encourage? A Google search defines it as the following: to “give support, confidence, or hope to (someone),” “give support and advice to (someone) so that they will do or continue to do something,” or “help or stimulate (an activity, state, or view) to develop.” From the definition there are the verbs “give” and “help”, so what does this denote? Straight away it can be gathered that a person will have to take something of their own such as time and effort to “encourage” another.
To take a look back to the origins of the meaning, Etymonline states that the etymology came from the “early 15c., from Old French encoragier ‘make strong, hearten,’ from en- ‘make, put in’ (see en- (1)) + corage ‘courage, heart’ (see courage). Related: Encouraged; encouraging; encouragingly.” Even from the original meanings of this word, it states to “make strong” and to “put in” and therefore again it takes effort and time.
Encouragement works for anyone of any age, whether someone is aiming to embolden on a toddler to keep upright and continue to walk, to a colleague as they are attempting to fix a big problem, or to an elderly person to keep on living when they have no hope. Everyone knows how cheering at a sports event can help the players gain adrenaline and make the winning score, so encouragement can be extremely beneficial. A quick 7 points from an Energize article will give a brief idea.
- ”It helps to provide us with energy to accomplish our objective.”
- ”It gives us hope.”
- ”It helps us to change our perspective.”
- ”It helps to restore self-confidence.”
- ”It helps to make people succeed.”
- ”It helps to build self-esteem.”
The physical and emotional aspect was briefly covered, so what does the Bible say about mental and spiritual encouragement? Here are a few examples:
1 Thessalonians 5:11; 14There is a lot of wisdom in the Bible when it comes to encouraging one another because it is also a form of loving one another. Everyone should be their brother and sisters keeper, as well as loving their “enemies.” It is commanded that no foul word or insult should come out of anyone’s mouth, but it should be only to edify and build each other up.
Because of this, comfort one another and build one another up just as you have done; But we beg of you, my brethren, correct wrongdoers, encourage the feeble souls, bear the burdens of the weak and be patient with every person.
And let us pay attention to one another in the encouragement of love and of good works. 25And we should not be forsaking our meetings, as is the custom for each person, but plead with one another all the more, as long as you see that day drawing near.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, fury, rage, clamor, and insults be taken away from you with all wickedness, And be sweet one toward another and affectionate, and be forgiving one another, just as God in The Messiah has forgiven us*.
And now, let us run after peace and after building one another up.
Romans 15:2; 5-6
But let each of us please his neighbor with good as for edification; But The God of patience and comfort grant you that you may value one another with equality in Yeshua The Messiah, * That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God The Father of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah.
My brethren, if any of you should be overtaken by a fault, you who are in The Spirit should restore him in the spirit of humility, and be cautious lest you also be tempted. And bear the burdens of one another, for in this way you fulfill the law of The Messiah.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
It’s a tragedy that today people turn to alcohol, prescription drugs, and other forms of illegal drugs to find encouragement to get through an event or even a day. The world has become so divided that no one is able to see a simple solution to helping and loving one another. Encouragement can help people who have no hope see hope and not turn to destructive habits or substances. It may even be the difference it makes to help someone who almost gave up on their very life. Life is such a gift, and yet many don’t regard it as precious as it was intended. The Catholic Ecumenical Order of Christ Clergy have pledged the following about life:
I shall be in favor of life and not death. I shall be in favor of balance, harmony and truth, and not of lies. I shall remain mindful of the purpose of human life, to learn and to grow in my chosen path.
It doesn’t cost money to pay a compliment or encourage someone, however, it does take a bit of effort on the person’s part in order to sort through their own negative emotions or feelings and act in the righteousness in which everyone was commanded. If each person aimed to encourage those around them, it would help everyone grow mentally and spiritually towards pleasing the Almighty Father and choosing the virtuous path leading to their divine destiny. In return, a person will find that they will be uplifting themselves up without the ego attached and great fruit will bear and they will be prosperous spiritually.
Weekly Challenge:I ENCOURAGE you to take the time and reflect this week and see in a day how many times you are positive and encourage those around you. Do you only do it once or twice? Do you find yourself putting people down, gossiping, or making fun of them instead of uplifting them? Be honest and find it within yourself to help uplift others instead of deflating or make them feel hopeless. Give them something more so they are also able to grow spiritually as you will be doing as well. Have the courage to do something nice for another and lift them up!