In commending a friend about their ability to encourage, their capacity for encouragement, they explained with profound simplicity the wherewithal:
‘I’m learning to speak promptly when God leads
and not just think good things about people.’
See the profundity in this statement?
Immediately I sensed that this is the key to being an encourager. Yes, it requires the abiding heart. Yes, it requires the ability to discern the opportunity of knowing when something noteworthy has been done by someone – ‘when God leads’. But how often do we see something good done, with a good heart that sees good done, and not pipe up? Of course, then there’s the delivery too – to deliver an encouragement that will hit the target with the kind and gentle power of love.
There’s a spirit of boldness, or of giving, in every encouragement delivered. This is speaking promptly, without delay, which is the sense of faith to execute what the heart sees. To just do it. This is a trust in our ability to say a thing for love’s sake, even if occasionally it will come out wrong, which is doubly powerful when we chase the error up and amend it in flow.
To speak promptly is to see and then to love in the immediacy of the moment. This is a good training tool for any disciple of Christ – especially if one is keen to grow in the practice of gratitude – for what else is gratitude than the speaking of good things for love?
Learning to speak promptly when God leads and not just thinking good things about people is a commitment to love, for thinking good things about people is admirable and desirable, but it’s also insufficient if we wish to make a difference as difference-makers in our world.
Certainly, thinking good things about people is incredibly wise on the journey of life.
The capacity and resolve to act promptly on the Lord’s leading is the key to giving loving encouragement.
There’s hardly a more loving thing to do than to encourage someone. An act of random kindness, a smile, a kind word, the uttering of something virtuous for a virtue seen in another, thankfulness for another’s gift. All these and more are the practice of holiness.