“Be strong and of good courage.” Dt 31:6 NKJV
Your words and attitudes have a powerful effect on other people. The woman caught in adultery is a case in point (See Jn 8 NIV). Observe how the Pharisees handled her: “The Law [of] Moses commanded us to stone such women” (v.5). How different Jesus’ attitude was! Looking at her with compassion, He said: “Neither do I condemn you…Go now and leave your life of sin” (v.11). Lifted, redeemed, empowered, you can’t help but believe she spent the rest of her days trying to live up to Christ’s view of her. The mandate to “encourage one another” and “build each other up” is woven throughout the New Testament. All of us need reassurance and appreciation. So why do we sometimes pocket the praise we should pass on to others, or sidestep the practical help we could offer to open the way for them to succeed? Sometimes it’s simply because we’re lazy, or selfish, or we fall into the habit of taking people for granted. Sometimes it’s just easier to find fault. We underestimate the impact our words and attitudes can have on another person, or we assume our approval is obvious. Are we afraid our praise might be a stumbling block, causing pride in them? Jesus didn’t fear that when He hailed Nathanael: “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false” (Jn 1:47 NIV). What a compliment! The truth is, more people die of broken hearts than swelled heads. So today ask God for an opportunity to offer genuine praise to someone in your life. Ask Him to use you to come alongside them, and encourage them toward their goal.
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