The Importance of Encouragement

Today I was reminded of the importance of encouraging others.

Orange Glory Restaurant

We live in a negative world.  Every time I drive on the highway I see billboards trying to sell us things by telling us we do not have everything we need or that we are inadequate as we are.

Political arguments swirl around the drain hole of who is or is not getting their “fair share.”

Satan himself is out to “steal, kill and destroy,” and we would be naïve to ignore that spiritual reality.

The point is that you and I are inundated by negativity and the affects of sin every day.

We all need to be encouraged.

One of the greatest blessings of going to counseling over the years throughout and after my divorce was meeting with someone who continually encouraged me in spite of regularly hearing the worst about me.  I would walk into an appointment tense, bound up with guilt and shame, and at the point of tears, and I would walk out refreshed and ready to try again.

During that time I also met with a friend for lunch every week, often at Orange Glory in downtown Rochester, NY, and he would listen, ask good questions, and more often than not pay for my lunch.  He is still one of my very best friends.

We all need two things:

  1. Christ.  As Shauna Nieguist puts it in her fabulous and transparent book Bittersweet, the most important part of dealing with difficulty and pain and loss is the comfort of Christ.  Without him we have no hope; with him we have strength to carry on and a guide through the maze of life.
  2. Encouragement.  Other than Christ the one thing we need is a genuinely encouraging word from someone.  We don’t need to know if everything will work out, although that would be nice.  We need to know we are loved and not alone.

Who has encouraged you?  Have you thanked them recently?  Who do you need to encourage now?

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