Encouragement. Everybody needs it, but not everybody gives it. As I have mentioned I have a number of prickly people in my life. There are days when I find myself having imaginary conversations with them, where I tell them “what I really think!” I have yet to say these things out loud to them, because I know it won’t help. What they really need is encouragement.
Encouragement comes for the Greek word Parakaleo which means to ask, beg, plead, comfort, exhort, urge, encourage, call and invite. It is a verb–not a noun. We are to act on it, “doing the thing” as Beth Moore would say.
To encourage literally means to “pour courage into.” I believe the prickly people really need to be encouraged that their circumstances are not set in stone. They can have a better ending. Their beginning doesn’t dictate their ending. They need to gain the courage to face the past, the situation, the whatever it is that is making them prickly in the first place. They need to change their perspective.
There are over 70 different uses of the word Encourage in the Bible. There are three verses that come to mind immediately when I hear encourage. First Thessalonians 4:18, Hebrews 3:13, and Hebrews 10:25.
Years ago I led a women’s small group and we often would use the Hebrews 10:25 verse to remind each other that “doing life together” mattered. Surrounding ourselves with people who would pour into us, challenge us, hold us up and pray for us made the difference every day of our lives. It is more than 15 years later and we are still pouring into each other through phone calls, Facebook, and e-mails. We are scattered from California to Washington to Vermont to Arizona and Illinois. We are mothers and wives and we still pray for each other, challenge and encourage each other.
So, here is the real challenge. When faced with prickly people will you toss them aside because they are difficult or are you going to choose to pour into them? You just might be the very person who helps them see there is another way. Who are you pouring into? Who is pouring into you?