Words of encouragement can be “life words,” bringing new motivation to our lives. Mark Twain said that he could live for a whole month on one good compliment.
Christian encouragement, however, is more than a compliment or a pat on the back, valuable as these can be. One writer described it as “the kind of expression that helps someone want to be a better Christian, even when life is rough.”
As a youth, Larry Crabb had developed a stutter that humiliated him in a school assembly. A short time later, when praying aloud in a church service, his stutter caused him to get both his words and his theology mixed up in his prayer. Expecting stern correction, Larry slipped out of the service, resolving never to speak in public again. On his way out he was stopped by an older man who said, “Larry, there’s one thing I want you to know. Whatever you do for the Lord, I’m behind you one thousand percent.” Larry’s determination never to speak in public again dissolved instantly. Now, many years later, he addresses large crowds with confidence.
Paul told us to season our speech “with grace” (Colossians 4:6). Then we will speak “life words” that bring encouragement.
It may seem insignificant
To say a word or two,
But when it is encouragement,
What wonders it can do! -K. De Haan
Correction may mold us, but encouragement will motivate us.