I've talked a little bit about my relationship with my dad and how it's gotten a bit bumpy here and there. With many failed attempts at learning how to do this properly, I've finally learned a way to communicate with him where I can express myself properly without being interrupted. It's actually really simple. I write a letter to him. I wrote him something a while ago and finally built up the courage to show it to him. After he read it, we had a good talk and figured some things out. Though I'd normally be too embarrassed to show this to anybody, I thought that since little to no one reads this personal blog of mine, it'd be fine to share it, and maybe this will be encouraging to someone else who is having difficulties talking to a parent.
Somehow, encouragement has become confused with complimenting or praising others. While praise can be part of encouragement, it doesn’t cover the full meaning of the word. We often think of encouragement as saying nice things to others to make them feel good about themselves, but this is closer to the definition of a compliment. Encouraging someone can mean you’re giving them support or confidence, but is also means that you’re helping to develop something in them.
When the Bible talks about encouragement, it usually means that one is calling someone to their side in order to teach, comfort, strengthen or push them to act in a certain way. There are a few other words in the Bible that have similar meaning, such as exhort, warn or admonish, but they are mostly used in Paul’s letters. People who encourage others say with love what a person needs to hear, when they need to hear it–even if it isn’t what the person wants to hear.
Consider the book of Ephesians. When Paul founded the Ephesian church, the city of Ephesus was a major occult city. The worship of the Greek goddess Artemis was the city’s main attraction, but many other types of occult practices thrived there as well. It was a very dark place for followers of the Lord. It was extremely important that the Ephesian believers maintained unity among themselves so they wouldn’t struggle alone in their new faith. Paul encouraged them to remain unified in his letters to them.
The New American Standard Bible translates the word “parakaleo” as “implore.” When Paul says he “implores them to walk in a manner worthy,” he’s actually saying that he encourages them to walk that way. The Ephesian believers were allowing disunity to creep into their fellowship of believers, and Paul is telling them what they need to hear in order to change their behavior.
I’ve seen lots of comments and questions from PI girls about friends who used to follow God but are now following Him less or making ungodly choices. When you confront a friend about this to urge them to get back in line with God’s will, you are encouraging them. Encouraging means telling people what they need to hear in order to bring about a change in action, feeling or belief, but when we encourage others, we should always do it with love, grace and wisdom. Sometimes encouragement is best to do in private, especially if the issue is a sensitive one. Remember: Your encouragement makes a difference!
Have you ever had to encourage someone to change a harmful behavior?
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Project Inspired
I knew this, but I was so caught on the idea of encouragement, thinking that it must be the solution to my problem, that I distorted it into being the things I wanted to hear. And I think, though I may be wrong, you also knew this and distorted with your desire to make me start obeying you.
My favorite part of this is “When the Bible talks about encouragement, it usually means that one is calling someone to their side in order to teach, comfort, strengthen or push them to act in a certain way.”
So I was right. Encouragement is what I need, but we both need to fully understand it. It's not telling someone what they want to hear, but showing them what they need. I feel like so many people forget about the teaching part.