Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

The Encouragement of an Encouraging Word


Our Western civilization is becoming less and less civil by the day. Anger erupts over true slights as well as perceived ones. The art of civil discourse has all but died. And the lyrics to the familiar “Home on the Range,”—“Where seldom is heard a discouraging word”—could easily be rewritten to “Where often is heard a discouraging word.”

It’s not just about politics. It seems we’re all becoming a little more impatient, a little more self-focused, and a little more discouraged ourselves and discouraging toward others.

Encouragement is important enough to God that He mentioned it several times in His Word:

  • “That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Rom. 1:12).
  • “Through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
  • “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had” (Rom. 15:5).
  • “Encourage one another daily . . .” (Heb. 3:13 NIV)
  • “Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:24-25).
  • “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11).

Remember Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus from the book of Acts? If not, that’s probably because you know him by another name—Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36).

We could all use encouragement—some days more than others! Encouragement is especially precious to us when we are struggling through difficult circumstances. It helps us persevere. Encouragement feeds hope and enables us to “keep on keepin’ on.” And encouragement builds up Christians within the church, both individually and corporately (1 Thess 5:11).

Sadly, it’s easier to tear down than to build up, isn’t it? And we may not even realize we’re doing it. When we’re tired frustrated, or discouraged, we tend to pass that on in our relationships. It’s much easier to whisper words that tear down a person than it is to build them up. But speaking through the apostle Paul, God holds out a higher standard for us. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Encouraging words build up. Discouraging words break down. Which will you choose today?

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