Saturday, June 10, 2006

Something You'll All Want to Hear

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.


Jeff Voegtlin said...

This reminder was helpful to me. I hope I'm more of a comforter than a nag.

Terry McGovern said...

Good post. It is amazing what a few encouraging words can do.

Ruth said...

There are many things I remember about my college days and on the job training. Being a very independent person, asking for help did not come naturally. We had some professors that were kind; some that were impersonal and one that challenged your reason for being there. That is the one I seemed to go to the most. Why? Because I needed the challenge to keep me at my top level of performance. Praise and encouragement were not in her vocabulary. The years went by and I received a very nice award for "Outstanding " work. I received a large number of congratulations from a number of people and I appreciated them all. But, the one that shall forever stay in my heart was from her. A little note in her handwriting simply stating .."I always respected your quest for knowledge and kindness to your fellowman. While you may not have thought I cared what you were doing.....I want you to know I prayed for you daily that God would keep you strong in your heart, faithful in your work and close to Him". And her name was signed. Encouragemet may come in some form we never see or hear. The comfort may come years later. I believe had I known she felt that way, I may not have pushed so hard toward perfection.
Excellent post, Pastor B.

Blessings from the Hill,

Anonymous said...

Good article. I think we need to apply this to the blogosphere as well. The way some talk to each other on blogs is alarming. Most would not use the tones they do on blogs if the people were there in person. Even in our disagreeing on the blogs, we need to speak the truth in love. Also, most articles posted on blogs seem to be those that attract negative attention and start arguments. We need more positive ones like this.

Anonymous said...

We need to apply this more to the blogosphere. So many are cruel in their arguing. We need to speak the truth in love even in our disagreeing on blogs.
Also, it seems that most articles posted are those that promote this arguing instead of posting things that truly encourage one another. Thanks for the good article.

DaCatster said...

GREAT!!!!I know exactly what you mean.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I know I need to give more love to those who comment, but I don't want anyone to get jealous, but thanks all. And Derek, too many positive blogs and I'll lose my readers....smiles. Nice story, Ruth, and thanks Cathy. And to all a good night.

Unknown said...

What an encouraging blog post! Saying comforting words whenever appropriate is a habit that I try to cultivate. It is so easy to tear down relationships, and it takes a great degree of Christ-likeness to build and maintain them. Thanks for this article.

DaCatster said...

I read a sign on the Dan Ryan (which is undergoing massive road construction)just the other day and thought of this post.

"The road to progress is always under construction"

Kinda of reminds you of the Christian life, huh?