(photo from http://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html, accessed March, 2011)
Let’s explore about what the Word of God (The Bible) tells us about Encouragement!
We find the instruction of encouragement quite often within the Bible. It is mostly connected with the Relationship between brothers/sisters in Christ, including teachers and disciples and so on. However, the meaning of encouragement remains the same as well as its application, no matter the nature of the Relationship.
- To mentally SUPPORT; to MOTIVATE, give courage, hope or spirit.
- To SPUR ON, strongly recommend.
- To FOSTER, give HELP or PATRONAGE
(Accessed March 2011, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/encourage)
“But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.”
This scripture is really beautiful and says much. Keep discussing about Relationships and in reference to the above verse, we see the relationship between Moses and Joshua, the Leader and his Deputy…but still two human beings in a Relationship. Moses is to commission Joshua to take over and lead the Jews to the Promised Land. What really Joshua needed? I do not read anything about Advice, Teaching, Direction or Judgment of strengths and weaknesses. I read about encouragement and strengthening. Or otherwise, supporting, motivating, giving courage, giving hope and spiriting.
“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”
This is another amazing scripture and I believe it is worthy to read the ones before it. Do you remember Job? Do you remember all tragedies he went through even if he was a faithful man? Now, listen carefully what he says:
“Then Job replied: “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.”
Wow! Do you get it? It is so revealing concerning how to treat others and how to intervene within our Relationships on individual base but even the Relationship between speakers, preachers, teachers and disciples, readers, listeners or followers.
But let’s stick with individual/personal Relationships. We do have the capability to make long speeches. Certainly, there are a lot that we can remember from the past behaviour of the other person that we can mention. No doubts that there are a lot of weaknesses that we can highlight. Thus, is it a useful, beneficial practice to do so? What do we accomplish by doing so? We might stop and ask ourselves. Do we try to build the Relationship or solve the present conflict/issue? Is it about building or destroying? If we are honest within us, we will discover that we react as such just for one reason: to satisfy our Ego!
What we need to chose is encouragement. It is encouragement that brings relief to the other person but also relief in the tension of the situation.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
This verse reconfirms what we already explored: encouraging is building. As we have said in previous discussions, Relationships are not affairs or social contacts. Relationships is about sharing, communicating, respecting, developing and building step by step.
When the conflict arrives and it will, what do we do? When the wife feels useless, what the husband would do? When the co-worker is bullied by his boss, what his work-mate would do? When the sister does not feel that she deserves a good future, what the brother would do? When a friend just separated, what the friend would do?
There is time to be firm and rebuke as there is time to comfort and encourage. Let’s use the wisdom of God to know the difference and to know when to apply what. Not only when to apply what, but also how to apply it.
We spoke in previous post “Listening and Listening Actively”:
“The context of what is said is not only what it is said – the words. It is just a part of the communication and in fact the smallest one (7%). The next part is the way we choose to say something, the tone of the voice or otherwise how we say what we say (38%). The last but not least – in fact the most important part – is how our body language connects to what we just said. That’s why the face to face is the best way of communication, as all three parts are present. When we talk e.g. on the phone, we lose 55% – the body language.”
We can encourage and at the same time say honestly what we understand to be out of line. When we do it, allowing the Lord to put the words in our mouth, when we do it just to benefit the other person and not to play the teacher or highlight our opinion and our ego or to feel that we are better and wiser, but we do it with true love in our heart, trust me, it will come out of our mouth in a smoothly loving way, a way that will encourage and bring relief. In a way that will help the other person to think on improvements and at the same time s/he feels encouraged that s/he is loved and s/he can do any improvement/changes/development decides to.
Do you understand what the Spirit says?
I wish to conclude with the following scripture from 2Thessalonians 2v16-17
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
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