The Value of Positive Words
Learning to Speak Words of Encouragement
It is so easy to put people down. We love to sit in judgment on others while thinking highly of ourselves. It seems that the hardest thing to do is to simply speak words to others that will encourage them.
Have you ever been in a place where you were discouraged, tired, emotionally beat up, and all that anyone could do is tell you how bad you are? To be in that place is awful. You want to quit. You want to lash out and tell the whole world off.
While you can't make others speak encouraging words to you, you can determine that positive words will come out of your mouth.
The need for encouragement
People all around us are discouraged. They want to quit on life. Many people have suicidal thoughts. A thought occurred to me the other day that it could be that many of the homeless drunks that you see could be where they are because of lack of encouragement. Maybe they were going through some difficult times, and all the people in their life did was put them down. Eventually they figured, 'what's the use'. Maybe a simple, 'I believe you can make it', would have helped them through the difficult time.
It is amazing how a simple word of encouragement goes a long way. Too, a word of discouragement can go a long way. We can be so flippant with our words.
The fact is everyone has struggles of one variety or another. Many times we feel like we can't make it. Just a word of affirmation may be all it takes to give us the boost we need to keep going. But so often the wrong words come out, and we end up defeated and lonely.
The benefits of encouraging words
There are many things that a word of encouragement can accomplish. Let's look at a few of those benefits.
1. Provides strength
There is something about a word of encouragement that seems to instill energy into us. It gives us a sense of hope, a glimmer of light. It helps us to understand that we are not alone. When you are going through difficult times, you begin to feel emotionally and physically weak. The right word can give you new strength to go on, that everything will turn out okay.
Remember that you can offer those words to others that will give them the strength they need to make it through. People don't always need the answer or our brilliant analysis of the situation. Often they just need to know that we are there for them.
2. Gives hope
Words of encouragement can provide hope when we are at our lowest. When we are at our lowest we don't need judgment, but love. Hope is a powerful thing. It gives us the extra motivation we need to take one more step. When you are going through your darkest moments, all you can think about is the next step. A word of encouragement helps us take the next step.
3. Changes our perspective
When you are going through difficult times your perspective can get out of line. You start thinking wrong thoughts, and can even make unwise decisions in desperation. When someone offers encouragement, it can help us get our perspective right. Often we get too focused on the here and now, and fail to see the big picture. I know there have been times in my life when I was so focused on survival that I forgot the big picture. I would freak out. A simple word of encouragement from my wife or a friend helped me relax and keep my focus on the big picture. They would remind me of good times in the past that turned out okay, and that God loved me and was in control. What a difference it made.
Words of encouragement are not words that analyze the situation or judge the other person. "Constructive criticism" doesn't count as encouragement. Words of encouragement are words that help the other person understand that they are not alone. They help us to understand the big picture. They help us to keep going even though we can't see the way.
I encourage you to develop the habit of being an encouragement to others, and not sit as judge, jury and executioner.
"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV)