Man sitting down and another man encouraging him to get up

Embracing Encouragement

We all live under some kind of stress. Usually, we assume that other people are not facing the stress we are facing, so we tend to minimize it in others while maximizing it in ourselves. But what if we assumed that others face the same amount or GREATER? What if we assumed that the needs of others were even more significant than our own?

How differently would we interact with a salesman? (I didn’t realize the stress of phone bank salespersons until my son worked in one.)

How differently would we interact with a waiter or waitress? (Watching my sister cope with that role made a difference in how I viewed them.)

How differently would we interact with our neighbors, our co-workers, bosses, or employees if only we could see the situation as they see it?

I think that’s where Jesus’ “golden rule” was focused. “Do unto others as YOU would have THEM do unto YOU.” It accomplishes a couple of important things. It makes us identify with people that we might see as the opposition. And it gives us a different measure of success in our interactions. It would change us from “guests” to “hosts” in those situations.

We talked about the power of our words last Sunday, and I left that experience of study with a desire to embrace a lifestyle of encouragement. Too often, I feel the drive for winning, not solving, competing, not cooperating. How different would my interactions be if I embraced authentically this life of encouragement?

“Lord, help me use my words to build, not to demolish, to empathize, not to defeat. Let my words be seasoned with grace, so that even when I must confront, my words are gentle enough to bring healing.”

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