Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “E” Is For “Encouragement”

21 May

eWords have such power. Especially the negative ones. If out of 100 people 99 speak a positive word and only 1 a negative, which is the one we remember?

We all know the answer: It’s the negative one.

I suspect if you try to remember all the words which have been spoken to you by others, you’ll find it much easier to remember the negative words than the positive ones.

Am I right?

This is why it’s so important to encourage one another. It’s a habit all of us need to cultivate.

Including us men.

It would be easy to pigeon hole this to girlfriends, wives, children or just other men – and many have tried. But this habit applies to all those we know.

We are all human, and no matter what any of us say, all of us need encouragement.

And our words are more powerful than we realise.

Scripture actually commands us to encourage each other – “as long as it is called today”… Which means always. And means it’s not an optional extra we do if we are “gifted” to. It means we learn to encourage.

Granted, it’s not easy to cultivate the habit, but like any habit it can be cultivated over time. From experience I can say to begin with, it can be difficult. It can be an effort.

But the more you encourage, the more natural it becomes.

Now, encouragement feels like a normal part of my life. I still have times where I have to be very deliberate about it, but it’s much easier to be intentional when you are in the habit.

However, encouragement isn’t always saying nice words to people. It’s not only about making people feel smiley and happy.

Encouragement is speaking truth into someone’s life at the exact moment they need to hear it. Whatever this truth is.

You see, there is a difference between positively criticising someone, and simply being negative and putting them down.

When jockeys ride horses, they use sometime use spurs to get the horses to go faster. They cause a little pain to the horse, but they get them moving faster.

And occasionally we need to spur each other on too. We need to speak truth into life for someone’s own good. It’s important though, that if and when we do this, we do it in love. It’s crucial we leave someone feeling positive, even if they have to hear a difficult word.

I have had this type of word spoken over me. They are often tough to hear, like a knife through my heart. But somehow, the people who have done this well have left me feeling positive about the outcome and how I can move forward.

When we spur each other on, we offer criticism, but also offer a compliment and suggest a positive step forward for the person concerned. We don’t brush over the truth, but we also affirm the other person’s value, our love for them, and give them an idea of how to move forward positively.

And there’s room for both types of encouragement. Sometimes, people need to be lifted up and told how great they are, or told they are gifted in a particular area, or informed of how positive they have left us feeling through something they have done. At others they need to be told where they need to examine themselves, and be spurred on and encouraged to take action to grow.

We must learn then, to discern what people need to hear, and when they need to hear it. And either way, all we are doing is speaking truth about this person to their face, at the moment they need to hear it.

Not to make ourselves feel better or superior. Not to put others down. But for the sole purpose of supporting and loving our brothers and sisters.

And above all, because it’s something God commands us to do.

Thing is, you’ll find the more you encourage others, the more you yourself will be encouraged.

So begin today. Go encourage!

What are some ways that you can be an encouragement to someone today? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

-James Prescott

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James Prescott is a writer and author from Sutton, near London, UK. He blogs regularly at JamesPrescott.co.uk. He recently released his first e-book, ‘5 Steps to Encouragement: A Manifesto for Changing the World’ which can be obtained free here.

One Response to “Alphabet Of Manly Virtues: “E” Is For “Encouragement””

  1. For the Love of God May 24, 2013 at 00:22 #

    Love languages, just saying. Speak theirs to them, not yours!

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