The Power of Encouragement

by Pastor John Kim

Hebrews 10:24-25 gives a very clear directive that we are not to forsake the gathering together of the fellowship of believers. It is the habit of some to minimize the importance of the corporate nature of the church as embodied in the local church assembly and the consequences are telling. One of the most practical ways in which a healthy church shows itself to be honoring to Christ is by how active the ministry of encouragement is taking place. While it is to be very much a part of characteristic of a genuine Christian to be an encourager, it is all too often something that is missing and instead replaced with a critical and discouraging spirit. It is amazing how some people in the church don’t even think twice when they send sarcastic words that can rip into a person’s soul and drop them to their knees in tears. There are others who are always quick to point out something negative about a person’s actions, no matter how hard they have tried in other respects to do their best. It is like the child who
brings home a report card that has all A’s and one B+ and the parents can only notice the B+ and not say anything about the areas that someone has done well. This is just wrong and sinful and it must stop.

I have to say that at a personal level, I have gone through seasons where there has been much encouragement and other times when the criticisms and discouragements seemed to never end. There were times when people were just downright mean and unloving and they didn’t seem to even care that their words and how they said them were just crushing. Now there are some who are maybe more thick-skinned than others and so they don’t seem to care when people treat them badly. But there are others who are more sensitive and while it is a struggle not to simply cave in to fear of man, there is still a human reality factor that makes it difficult to deal with and those who are the “stronger” in this area don’t give any real consideration to the “weakness” of others.

Now this is not to say that there should not be times where sin is called out and confronted seriously. But there should always be the foundation of a genuine loving spirit that has been evidenced by an encouraging and supportive spirit that comes alongside a brother or sister and endeavors to see that person truly grow in their walk with the Lord.

Encouragement is a powerful ministry. To give affirmation, to point out something positive, to lift up the spirit in the midst of adversity can make all the difference in the world. That is why coming together as a church family is so crucial so that the ministry of encouragement can thrive. But it takes everyone making a contribution. The command is not to “be encouraged” (passive) but to encourage (active) and so we are called to actively fulfill this call to action by taking it upon ourselves to go to someone else and do the work of encouraging. Try it sometime. Look for something, even if it seems small, but try to affirm someone. Maybe it’s even just showing up. Maybe you’ve seen someone take some small steps toward growth. They are taking notes of the messages. They came out to an activity. They tried to share the gospel and even though they got shot down, they still were challenged to continue. There are so many things that we could do to affirm what is going on the lives of others if we only take the time to seek it out.

Last month Pastor Patrick wrote a similar article regarding this issue. I hope that we can really continue to consider how we might use the tongues that we have been given and let them be filled with words of encouragement that build up and not tear down.

Meditate on Ephesians 4:29. Then live it out every time you communicate – via e-mail, instant messenger, text messaging, phone, video, in person, and whatever other ways you can communicate. Christ will be honored and you will be a blessing to many.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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