Encouragement is Contagious
*Guest Post by Sharie King*
Have you ever heard someone say, "I don't want it to go to her head"? Recently after speaking at an event, someone offered my husband a compliment about me. After listening, he suggested they come and tell me. But, they responded, "Well, I don't want it to go to her head."
What they didn't know is that I desperately needed a boost of inspiration.
Most often, the days I speak are some of my hardest. The enemy tries to beat me down with discouragement, insecurity and loneliness to keep me from stepping out on that stage. But, somehow God's faithfulness transforms my weakest moments into great victories. So, while participants may translate our moments on stage as our most confident, my husband and I share the secret knowledge that it's actually our most vulnerable. If we are together at an even, we take great care to encourage and support one another in the minutes we walk off.
It's not wrong to be on guard against the beasts, pride and arrogance. When I see these two sins in my soul I'm terrified to admit they exist. I'd rather camouflage them with righteous deeds, or bury them beneath blankets of performance.
But, even more discouraging than the way I handle my own pride, is the way I treat fellow believers who are battling these monsters. Instead of supporting and praying for them, I find myself adopting the false responsibility of "making" them humble by withholding affirmation.
This is a tendency I've noticed in many believers. We choose not to celebrate someone because we want to protect them from becoming conceited. We refuse a compliment because we wonder if our words might bring forth boasting. But I wonder if our suppressed support has created a body of believers who wander through life discouraged, disappointed, and resentful of those to whom good things come.
If we dig a little deeper, would we discover the root of our resistance to encourage actually originates from our own insecurity?
Are we refusing to lift up other people because our pride is threatened? Perhaps our souls are so defeated from a lack of validation that we don't have any to dish out. We don't get, so we don't give.
If you feel like I'm stepping on your toes, maybe you can find consolation in the fact that mine have already been trampled. I've held back encouragement out of insecurity. Over and over. I've regretted it and asked my Savior why.
Here is what He has shown me. Believers are are called to carry the life and light of Christ to the world. When Jesus walked on the earth, he constantly used his words to bring life and healing to the people around him (John 6:63). Proverbs 18:21 says, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit."
When we refuse to encourage each other, we disobey Jesus' mandate to build each other up. (I Thess 5:11) We're not responsible for how people receive the goodness we offer them. We can't control whether it goes to their heads. However, we are responsible for whether our tongues dish out life or death.
This morning me and my boys ate lunch together. Joseph opened his heart to Jacob and said, "Jacob, I hope I have a son who is as loves reading and is as good at it as you." Visibly touched, Jacob responded by saying, "Jojo, I hope I have a son who loves to skateboard and do tricks as well as you." In that moment I think all of our hearts melted a little. As I was enjoying my children's affirmation of each other, Jacob hugged me and said, "You're the best Mom ever!"
Encouragement is contagious.