Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13
"Correction does much, but encouragement does more." Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe
To encourage: parakaleo: to call to one's side, to comfort, beg, console, instruct or teach. An exhortation (to urge or persuade).
My study this morning pointed in two directions: we don't encourage because of envy or we fail to recognize the power of encouragement.
I default to criticism, dressed up as correction, as if God purposed me to edit/proofread the lives and words around me. I need to shift gears in my heart, my mind and finally to my active mouth, my gift is not filling in another's blanks out of envy or ignorance.
Why do I see my lack of encouragment as valuable contributions when I all I am doing is pointing to what is wrong, or missing or how something can be improved? Why do I miss the tremendous value of walking alongside someone and considering, noting and commenting on what is working, what is right, what is helpful?
I applied for a job this week and listed two people as references before I asked permission from them to do so. I was eager to accomplish my goal of submitting the application, and I made the mistake of listing those folks before asking.
Then, I asked for their willingness to be a reference. Both said the same, exact same thing to me: "honored to be in that position, I hope they call." The exact same encouragement--either they did not notice my error, or they did not care and instead encouraged my pursuit, hoping for the best outcome.
It was a powerful reminder of encouragement's real power. The freedom from seeing what is wrong and the freedom to bless is tremendous.