Why be an encourager?

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by Stan Mitchell

“So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV).

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Had you noticed that they never build monuments for critics?

It is always easier to tear apart than to build up. Cicero once complained of critics: “They condemn what they do not understand.”

Arthur Schopenhauer, obviously the victim of criticism, wondered if when a “head and a book come together, and one of them sounded hollow, was it always the book?”

I remember complimenting a Christian in public for doing a job well. He preached the next Sunday on “Flattery”!

When pressed on the subject, he remarked that people should not do good “for the praise of men.” That takes care of the motives of the one doing the task, but what about the motives of those who consistently fail to express their gratitude?

Brethren have a responsibility to be thankful!

We need to give credit “where it is due” (Romans 13:7).

Some advocate “tough love.” “Be forthright,” they urge, “be brutally honest.” Perhaps. Yet it has been my experience that “tough love” could be turned around to say, “It is tough to love.”

It is tough to find the good word, the edifying message. It is tough to say “I’m sorry” and begin the healing. It is tough to compliment another when you feel that you have been overlooked yourself for the job.

It’s tough to say, “I forgive you,” especially when the hurt persists. It is tough to love, but this is vital for the church if we are to build and “edify” it.

Here are some encouraging words. Feel free to use them. They are not copywrited:

  • “Thank you.”
  • “Excuse me, please.”
  • “I love you.”
  • “Well done.”
  • “We appreciate you and your work.”
  • “What a lovely smile you have.”
  • “You are so talented. I’m glad you are using your talents for the Lord.”

Go ahead, be bold! Use one of these phrases this week, in person or by writing. Be an encourager.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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