‘Encourage…and build up one another.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB
HERE ARE four questions you need to be able to answer: 1) Do people feel better about themselves after spending time with you? 2) Are your expectations so high that you focus on people’s shortcomings instead of their strengths? 3) When somebody speaks well of a person you don’t particularly like, do you feel the need to inject a disparaging remark? 4) Are you so insecure and lacking in self-worth that you only feel good about yourself by putting others down? Well, how did you do on the test? If you’re not four-for-four, it’s time to spend time with God in prayer and ask Him to help you change your attitude and what comes out of your mouth. Paul says, ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen’ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV 2011 Edition). Words are like hammers: they can be used to break down or build up. It all depends on the person swinging the hammer! It’s just as easy to be part of the construction crew as it is to be a member of the wrecking crew. Make a habit of encouraging your family and your friends. Let your wife know she’s the only woman in the world for you. Express appreciation for your husband’s care and sense of responsibility. Applaud your teenager for avoiding drugs and alcohol. Thank your friends for keeping your secrets! Accept people as they are, and resist the temptation to constantly ‘fix’ something about them. Remember, you only have them for a short time!