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Encouragement is a vital part of our personal growth and also in our effectiveness in serving humanity. But often, people tend to avoid encouraging others. I have to say this has always been a bit of a mystery because to me it's a no-brainer to tell people when they are doing a good job. Especially when it has to do with God's cause.

Perhaps some people mistake encouragement for flattery or praise. They feel that to tell someone he is doing well might build him up in an unhealthy way. But looking at the word carefully, we can see that it is COURAGE that is being addressed in the person. Not empty flattery. And not even praise. Praise belongs to God, but to give people courage to move forward is something very human. Here are some ways to bring encouragement (courage) to those around you:

Ways to Give Courage
  • Don't assume that she already knows she is doing a good job of something. Don't assume that just because she is successfully leading in a project or her home or just as your friend that she knows she is being a success. Tell her. A simple comment can go a long way to keep a person moving forward. You never know when that person may be on the edge of giving up on something because of lack of affirmation. You are not going to give someone a big head by saying that you are blessed by his influence. You are not going to be giving undo praise by sharing with him that you are praying for continued success for him.
  • Remember what is the opposite of courage. Discourage. And remember that if you never offer encouragement to people, you may be, by your silence, be offering discouragement. Do you want to contribute to the removal of courage from someone?
  • Remember that encouragement is a Godly characteristic. God constantly instills courage in us, knowing that life in this world is full of difficulties and challenges. God apparently does not worry that we can be “spoiled” by encouragement. In fact, it is the opposite effect that happens. The more God affirms us, the more we want to move forward.
  • Encourage people even when they are not necessarily doing well. We all have spiritual battles. That's a fact. So if someone is having a spiritual conflict, you can still encourage them by letting them know you understand that we are all in this sinking boat together, but that there is a lifeboat with our names on it. Encourage the person to keep looking to Jesus. Encourage him by telling him you are mentioning him by name in your prayers every day. And ask him to mention you in his prayers also.
Encouragement is something everyone needs whether they realize it or not. It is something that God freely gives and something that we should not be stingy with in sharing with others. Let's put some courage in someone today.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. 

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