Therefore encourage one another...
As she approached me from across the room, my heart was filled with expectation and excitement at the thought that she seemed genuinely interested for a moment in my seemingly small life. She warmly greeted me with a hug and a huge smile. She quickly asked me a few questions and before I could finish my answers the eyes which once seemed focused on mine, were now wondering about the room at who would be her next target. I quickly realized her greeting was part of what she did, rather than who she was. I was young, insecure, and in need of the genuine love and care of an older Christian woman. I just needed a little encouragement. A few words would have gone miles for me.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The body of Christ needs encouragers for today. Some face marital difficulties, have heartaches over rebellious or spiritually indifferent children. Some face financial hardships and their future seems uncertain. And others have such hurt and pain over relationships that life seems unbearable at times. Many are wondering if God truly cares for them, and they certainly don't believe that any other person cares.
We must not depend solely on our pastors and other spiritual leaders to do this. We must also do it ourselves. But we must remember that to encourage is to fortify one another with the strength to endure. It does not mean to commiserate with one another over our respective trials and difficulties. As Paul said, "we are to speak only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs." (Ephesians 4:29) So as we care for one another, we must demonstrate care and compassion, but not pity. The other person must know we care, but more importantly, he or she must know that God cares. That is the objective of encouragement.
The next time you are in a room filled with other women, look for the one you can encourage, keep your eyes focused on theirs and remind them of the uplifting truths of God's Word.
Chris can also be found at her personal blog Come to the Table