Bold Encouragement

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he's in trouble.

Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NRSV)

Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

George Childree lives in Alabama. He and his wife were attending a swimming competition which was crowded with preteen kids, including their two grandsons. Slade, the older of the two, had completed competition in his age group and was now at the side of the pool, rooting for his younger brother, Grant. Even over the noise of the crowd, we heard Slade calling, "Cone on, Grant, keep going. You can make it!" As George watched him, he thought, He doesn't care at all about what the crowd thinks of him and his jumping up and down yelling. He's more concerned that his brother finish the race.

When later George thought about the unashamed way his grandson encouraged his brother, He asked himself, "Am I as zealous as Slade in my encouragement for my brothers and sisters in Christ?" He was ashamed that the answer was no. Unlike his young grandson, George was often inhibited by his fear of what others would think. Slade inspired George to ask God for forgiveness and also for boldness to encourage others.

For many of us, it is difficult to speak out for Christ, but we all need encouragement and sometimes a kind word makes all the difference. Try today to make someone feel better, if it is even only with a smile.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to reflect your nature in our actions toward others each day. Grant us courage to speak kind words of encouragement, in Your precious name. Amen.

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