Just a few weeks ago (or has it already been months!), we were all eagerly seeking for truth. We were drowning in facts, reports, opinions, and predictions. Trying to sift through it all in order to find what seemed logical or perhaps the truth quickly became an overwhelming process. But, somehow, that seems to have changed. It seems just about everybody has become an expert. Everyone seems to not only have an opinion but is confident they know exactly the right answer. And everyone – or it feels like everyone – is more than willing to offer their advice, opinion and their political commentary. Which, I suppose, by itself is not horrible. I certainly have the choice to listen or not to listen. And much of what is shared does give me good food for thought. Of course, I have my opinions as well:) I just wish more of us would share, advise or even commentate with a heart to encourage. Not merely to criticize. To point another finger. Certainly not to simply get more like, gain followers – or a following.
Especially as Christians, we need to be encouragers. To not only comfort but to also strengthen and to edify others. How can we be better encouragers? One of the best ways is to become better prayers. To pray for others. To bear others’ burdens. Don’t just pray for those we love and those we know well. Pray for leaders – whether you voted for them or not. Pray for those who challenge you or have different opinions than yours. Pray for those who completely irritate you. Pray genuinely for these. We are much slower to criticize – and even to despise – those for whom we have been regularly praying.
Romans 12:10 tells us “…in honour preferring one another.” We are to give preference to others. That means to value others more than ourselves. In order to do that, we must be willing to respect others’ ideas and opinions. We must be tolerant and more willing to listen – not too quick to dismiss or even to condemn. Yes, we may still disagree but we will not argue just for argument’s sake. Our spirit can still be sweet. We can maintain a testimony that is Christ-honoring and that will be an encouragement. To other believers and to the world.
Another powerful way to be an encourager is simply with our words. No, we do not simply need to argue for argument’s sake. Many times, we do not need to say anything at all. James 1: 19 reminds us to “…be swift to hear, slow to speak…” God knows we are too often slow to hear and much too swift to speak. We need to commit our speech and our words to Him each day. I believe when in doubt – or when unprepared – it is better to just keep quiet. (Proverbs 10:19).
But there are times we need to speak up. There are times God opens the door for us to share – not only wise opinion but to share the gospel. Certainly, we should be willing and ready to do so. We need wisdom. We need speech that is seasoned with salt. We need words that are truthful, needful, helpful and kind. These words are encouraging. When we use them wisely, we can not only be encouragers but we can be sowers. Sowers of the seed – which God has promised will never return void.
I encourage you…..be an encourager this week:) Do not be drawn into the ugly side of the noise, the conflict, the worry/anxiety and verbal debate that is our world right now. Be an encourager and you will be encouraged!