The Power of Encouragement

By David Servant

I love encouragement. Who doesn’t?

And I hate discouragement. Who doesn’t?

Encouragers are like sunshine that warms you on a cold day.

Discouragers are like birds that poop on your windshield.

When I see that I have received an email from someone who is an encourager, I eagerly read their email. It is similar to the feeling you get when you open a box of chocolates. Solomon must have understood that, as he wrote, “Good news puts fat on the bones” (Prov. 15:30)!

But when I see that I have received an email from a discourager, I inwardly wince, and I delay the torture of opening and reading it. Discouragers are torturers.

When I see that I am receiving a phone call from someone who is an encourager, I eagerly answer my phone.

But when I see that I am receiving a phone call from a someone who is discourager, I am apt to let the phone just keep ringing. And I delay listening to the voice mail that is left.

Thank God for encouragers! My wife is one. Where would I be without her? Even if she feels she has to say something potentially discouraging to me, she makes it positive. Instead of saying, “You fool! How can you be so blind to realize that tie doesn’t match your shirt?” she says, “My love, you are much too handsome of a guy to wear that tie.” She’s a pro.

The fact is, anything negative can be said in a positive way, or at least said humbly and graciously, and sandwiched between two compliments. Try practicing that and watch how people like being around you.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thes. 5:11, emphasis added).

Did you notice the encouragement in his admonition to be encouragers? It’s found in the words, “just as you also are doing.” That was not flattery, which is insincere and selfish, but encouragement, which is born from love.

And that is not his only encouragement to the Thessalonians. Here’s another example:

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more (1 Thes. 4:1, emphasis added).

Notice the encouragement? Paul didn’t have to say “just as you actually do walk” or “that you excel still more.” He could have said, “What is wrong with you? Why haven’t you achieved a higher standard?”

Here’s another example:

Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more (1 Thes. 4:9-10).

Be an encourager! Parents, constantly encourage your children. Husbands, constantly encourage your wife. Wives, constantly encourage your husband. Employers, constantly encourage your employees. And employee, constantly encourage your employer.

Only God knows how many dreams have died due to a word of discouragement—that could have been fulfilled through a word of encouragement.