Christian Resolutions for the New Year: Learn How to Encourage Others
I can think of no better Christian resolution for the New Year than to be an encouragement to others in 2023.
It seems, in life, that there are times when being encouraging is more acceptable than at other times.
When a momma has a newborn baby, no one thinks twice about throwing advice around, doing everyday tasks like cleaning and cooking, or speaking words of affirmation over her.
But when that child gets older, we sort of back off. After all, who wants unsolicited advice or someone randomly cleaning for them?
Those words of affirmation shouldn’t stop though.
That momma of an older child needs to hear that she’s doing a good job because, even though she doesn’t show it, she still has her doubts.
She no longer wonders if she’s holding the baby right or feeding her child correctly, but she has a ton of other questions swirling through her head at an alarming rate.
Most of them are about whether she’s a good mom or not, and she needs to hear that she is.
Why not reach out and tell her? A text, even one sent out of the blue, will put a smile on her face.
She may not have time to respond, but you can rest assured you’ve touched her heart. Those words you shared with her will replay in her mind during times of uncertainty.
The Bible tells us, in Proverbs 25:11, that “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” But for someone to hear those words, we have to share them.
I suspect that we all have passed up opportunities to share our words with someone else.
We’ve fought that inner struggle where we wonder what the other person will think, where we don’t want to overstep, where we simply second-guess our kindness. What we end up doing is robbing the other person.
And we rob ourselves too.
The benefits of being an encouraging person tend to fall back on us and everyone around us. We all understand that our children are sponges, absorbing far more than what we are explicitly teaching them.
Why not let them see us as we offer words of kindness to others? Imagine the ripple effect that will go on for years as our children grow up to mimic the kindness they saw in us.
I remember when my son was around nine or ten and his wise teacher had the class participate in a rather unusual lesson.
She brought a tube of toothpaste and a twenty-dollar bill to class that day. Leaving her props on one of the desks, she issued a challenge to the class, a challenge that was immediately met with upraised hands as each child wanted to be the first to try what she was suggesting.
She offered that money to anyone who could put all the toothpaste back into the tube after she squeezed it out. Of course, no matter how many children tried, they eventually figured out they had been set up.
Now that she had their attention, she explained how words are the same as that sticky toothpaste that now covered the desk.
And she was right. Once given away, we can never take our words back.
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In Proverbs 15:1 we are reminded that “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
How simple would it be if we never let any harsh words leave our mouths?
The trick to this is to keep them out of our hearts. This happens when we have good thoughts toward others, when we have true love for them. It’s not easy to say something mean to someone you truly love. Love seems to win every time.
What if our goal, with our words, was simply to bless others?
What if we thought through every word before opening our mouths, thinking about how the other person will feel after receiving what we give to them in the form of our words?
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”Ephesians 4:29
I think the best gift we can give away is the gift of encouragement, and I can think of no better way to do this than through our words. Words have a way of never leaving us, whether they’re good or bad.
Let’s speak life over others, finding the good in them to share. It will bless them in ways you may never know.