We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith. Romans 15:1
Jesus encouraged people, and he told those who are strong in faith to make a point of encouraging others in their faith: "We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith." (Romans 15:1)
This Christmas season encourage the people around you.
For one thing, we all need confidence. When you know that someone believes in you, it brings out your best. Jesus did this with the Apostle Peter. "Petros," Peter's name, meant pebble. But Jesus said, "Pebble, you're going to be a rock. I'm giving you a new name."
When Jesus said that to Peter, the apostle was anything but a rock. He was Mr. Impulsive, Mr. Foot-in-Mouth. But Jesus didn't tell him what he was - He told him what he could be. He gave him confidence to live up to his potential.
We all need encouragement. Over the years, I've kept an Encouragement File. Every time anybody writes me a note, a card, or a letter, I file it. Even if it's mildly encouraging- like "Better luck next time!" - or- "You tried on that sermon, but good try!" - it still gets filed.
Then, on days when I'm discouraged and down and tired, I get out the Encouragement File, and I read through all the letters and cards that I've collected.
When you give encouragement, it needs to be genuine. So, give from the heart and with sincerity. Encouragement also needs to be regular- don't be stingy with your encouragement.
And encouragement needs to be specific. Instead of saying, "I enjoyed the meal," say, "I can tell you put a lot of effort into this meal and the seasoning you chose was perfect."
Instead of saying, "You did a good job," say, "I noticed you handled that angry customer with tact and you maintained your cool under pressure."
(Tomorrow we'll look at how Jesus spoke honestly others.)