Mark Twain said he could live for two months with a good compliment. Solomon wrote: "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). From my point of view, I think people have a form of amnesia about nice things that are said. They remember one vague criticism much easier than one flowery praise. Not me of course. I love people that get on my case. I especially like someone who will nag me in a condescending manner. OK, get the smirk off your face. All of us need improvement, but encouragement often is a better way to get it. (This is for you, not an article to copy and give to Mr. Sandpaper.)
You might be surprised to hear that the English word "encouragement" isn't found in the King James Version of the New Testament. I hate to break it to you, but the word there is "comfort." I knew you weren't going to like that, especially seeing how much you enjoy discomfort. I thought that comfort might be a hard sell after hearing the word "encouragement." I'm being a bit sarcastic in this little essay, because I do know how much we all like comfort, whether it be a soft pillow, a lazy-boy recliner, or some words spoken by someone at an appropriate time. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 commands: "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." After Lazarus died, "many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother" (John 11:19).
Reminding one of my children to do something is fine, but I could be more effective in their lives, show them more love, with a verbal compliment. When he takes out the garbage, I can tell him how much I appreciate it. When she finishes cleaning the kitchen, I can mention to her how thankful I am she does that. When that homework assignment gets completed, I can give positive notice with a big smile. Encouragement, this type of comfort, requires empathy, seeing the world from someone else's perspective. They like hearing nice things. I know they do, so even if I struggle to give out compliments, I do it anyway. "Speaking the truth in love" is not always some form of confrontation. Many times it is parading the accomplishments of others, speaking some life words to fill someone's emotional tank with love.
Some say that talk is cheap. Well, I know that gas isn't these days, so why not fill up someone's tank with encouragement. It's an alternative energy source all of us can afford to invest in.