Are You an Encourager or Discourager?

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 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 10:24-25

“Encourage one another and build each other up” — 1 Thessalonions 5:11

“You can tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up instead of tearing each other down” — unknown

Our culture has a slight (ha!) tendency to seek out the errors in others. The news thrives on stories where “crazy” people did something wrong and magazines are flooded with celebrities that gained weight or messed up. With all of this going on around us, we’re naturally trained to see flaws and talk about them.

We all know this, but we also all probably think of ourselves as fairly good people. We compliment others, tell them they can do this, listen to our friends discuss their flaws and tell them that they’re perfect. Sometimes we believe it and sometimes we lie, but no matter what we’re not as bad as the media and everyone else. Sometimes we even go so far for our friends through building them up by tearing whoever wronged them to pieces. We encourage a friend while criticizing their enemy.

Our God doesn’t say choose one person to build up while putting down the others. He tells us to get together to encourage each other towards good deeds and towards actions revolving around love. In a sense, He points to the way that humans have the capacity to build each other up without any destruction of others.

This might mean that as we start this new year we have to get more creative. We have to find things to talk about that don’t include merely the wrongdoings of others. We have to look at our friends and say what we believe, but in a constructive and encouraging way.

Our Father makes us strong enough and creative enough to be encouragers in a world full of discouragement.

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