What is Encouragement?
Encourage (verb) to lift up, to spur on to do better, inspire with courage, or to stimulate with consistent assistance or approval.
The Essence of an Encourager
Over twenty years ago when I was first hired to be a middle school teacher, I learned quickly that a teacher must be an encourager.
Teaching in an impoverished area where more than half of the students were on state assistance and parents struggled daily to make ends meet; depression, drug use, and despair were common. I knew that my students needed encouragement.
The souls of those students needed to be lifted up and were in desperate need of inspiration. They needed teachers who believed in them and I was grateful that I had joined a team of teachers who choose to be encouragers.
It is difficult to teach a student or a classroom of students who feel as if they have no hope. In order to teach these students, I knew that they needed daily approval, smiles, high fives, personalized lesson plans, and somebody who would listen to their stories, and be interested in who they were as individuals.
And what a learning it experience it was as my eyes were opened and my heart doubled in size as it grew in compassion. I was so blessed to be in my students’ lives.
In my ten years of teaching, I made a habit of opening up my classroom at lunchtime for extra tutoring, attending their sporting events, and made it a practice to let my students know they could do an assignment, try out for sports, attend college, or stay away from crime or drugs.
While I cannot take credit for anything that my former students and their accomplishments; I was able to see the benefits of consistent encouragement in a child’s life.
Why is it Important to be an Encourager
Encouragement is a great motivator and is often just the push that one needs to move in a positive direction.
Encouragement is often the reason a person will make the right choice in life, or make a commitment to change because of the confidence that has been invested in their lives.
Living in the world that we do today, negativity is thrust into our faces. We see it on social media and television. Our world is divided. It is difficult to often find the positive in a situation with such negative words and actions of others.
The opposite of encouragement is discouragement.
Discouragement demoralizes, disheartens, disappoint, and depresses. Contrary to encouragement which offers hope, inspires, enlightens, and motivates.
The Bible reminds us to be an encourager.
What Does the Bible Say about Encouragement?
In the book of Proverbs, we are reminded of the impact that encouraging words can have on one’s life, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21).
Your words and actions can have an impact.
Below are a few of the verses from Scripture that exhorts us to be encouragers.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life. (Proverbs 10:11)
Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the brothers. (Acts 15:32)
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:2)
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)
How to be an Encourager
You may be asking yourself, how can I be an encourager? I am more like Eeyore than Winnie the Pooh. I am the one who needs daily encouragement.
Whether or not you are a Negative Nancy, Mopey Matt, or Sad Susie; you can be an encourager.
However, you cannot do it on your own. Rather it is done by asking in prayer and seeking help from God. One important point is to remember that encouraging others is about glorifying God first and others second.
You can be an encourager with words, actions, and prayer.
Often words are the most powerful tool of influence we have in others’ lives. With our mouths, we can speak love, kindness, and spread joy. Often something as simple as asking another how they are doing shows personal interest in their lives.
Here are just a few ways that allow you to encourage others:
*When someone is discouraged or hurting, offer specific and compassionate, and practical help.
*Remind others of the promises of God, His goodness, and His love for them.
*Let others know that you are praying for them.
*Don’t underestimate the power of being there. Often just the mere presence of somebody is comforting and speaks volumes over any words.
You are loved by God and you are a blessing to others. Go out and love your neighbor, spread love, and be an encourager!
Here are some more encouraging posts that you may enjoy and help inspire you as a Christian wife, mother, and homemaker.