The Art of Encouraging

On the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated he was carrying five things in his pockets – an embroidered handkerchief, a penknife, a reading glasses case, a confederate five dollar bill and some old, worn newspaper clippings.

The newspaper clippings were from an article that described Lincoln as one of the greatest men of all times. You get the feeling that he carried those clippings everywhere he went. He was in a battle, facing a lot of opposition and he knew he needed encouragement.

We all need encouragement. Without voices of encouragement nothing great happens. Last week we talked about Five Steps Toward Courage, this week we want to inspire you in the art of encouraging others.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Look for the best in people – You will find what you look for. If you look for people’s faults and shortcomings, you will find them. We want to challenge you to look for the best. Highlight their potential to do something great with their lives.

Be specific and authentic in your encouragement – The more specific you are, the more impact you will have. Encouragement that is too general, can seem generic and insincere.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11

Learn the art of validation – We really do want to be helpful. But sometimes our well-meaning advice can sound like criticism or fixing. So lead with validation. When you begin by validating someone’s experience or feelings, you open the door for your words of encouragement.

Transfer courage – The root words of encourage actually mean to make or to put in courage. Encouragement is transferring courage from one person to another. It is more than appreciation; it inspires and helps people on along the way.

Who will you transfer courage to today?