23rd September 2023

Encouraging encouragement

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of someone’s less than successful attempt at encouragement, you may relate to what I once heard a pastor say – encouragement should be encouraging. This may sound obvious, but sometimes what is meant to be uplifting has the opposite effect. Most of us have probably said something with the intention of making someone feel better, only to realize our words were either trite, a cliche or just didn’t help. 

In a scene in the classic movie The Princess Bride, Fezzik the giant lets Westley try to gain the upper hand in a fight. Westley struggles, grunting, groaning and getting nowhere, then asks Fezzik if he’s just fiddling around with him. He answers, “I just want you to feel you’re doing well.” Then Fezzik proceeds to knock him unconscious. 

Fezzik’s comment has always intrigued me, because it seems it was based on a biblical principle. Our words can be life or death to someone. We can change a life for better or for worse by what we say, and helping someone feel they’re doing well can inspire the person to do even better. Life gets discouraging at times and we can all use some kind and encouraging words. 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV), Paul told the church to ‘encourage one another and build each other up.’ The Passion Translation says to ‘encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another.’ Phillips tells us to cheer and strengthen each other. 

Let’s all take this to heart and let our words be truly encouraging. Cheers to you!

Study by Tammy Tkach

First published on 29 August 2023, at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com

About the writer:
Tammy Tkach is the Assistant Pastor of the Eugene, Oregon, USA, Grace Communion International congregation. She is a speaker and writer, and publishes a blog at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com  

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