In order to be a person of encouragement you must be able look for the good in a person. Some of us, perhaps even most of us, are good at finding the negative things in a person. We are good at saying things like, “He spends too much time at work”. We are good at saying things like, “He doesn’t treat people very nice”. We are good at saying things like, “He is just so different.” But one thing we need to learn – if we want to be an encouragement – is how to say positive things. If we look hard enough there is something positive about each of us because we are made in God’s image.
I remember the first time I was asked to preach at a church. I was in grade nine and I did not know how to preach. I decided to make my sermon about forgiveness so if it was really bad then everyone would forgive me. I still remember when the song leader said, ‘This will be our song before the message.’ I was shaking in my bones. It was 6:25 in the evening. I stood up and talked for what seemed like an hour, possibly even two, and I sat down. It was now 6:33. My sermon lasted for an entire 8 minutes. I thought I had done a horrible job. I felt so bad. I felt so discouraged. But, then people came up to me and said, “Thank you,” “I was really strengthened by what you said,” “That was a good sermon.” I still think positive encouragement is one of the reasons why I am a preacher today. Encouragement is so important in each of our lives.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)