It seems that today we have lost sight of the power of encouragement. Not just encouraging others but also ourselves. I reflect on the times where one of my friends would call to vent and instead of encouraging them to do better because of who they were, I would join in the mess or the complaining. Granted, in my mind I was affirming their feelings and assuring that they were valid in their feelings but I went about it in the wrong way. Sometimes we think we are doing the right thing but it isn’t.
Encouragement means speaking positively in all areas not bashing or gossiping.
When you encourage someone, according to the dictionary, you “give support, confidence, or hope” to someone. This does not mean that you join in the gossip, listen to the foolishness and create your own opinions. This is not what we are called to do. However, we should validate the person’s feelings, challenge them to rethink the situation from various perspectives, suggest a paradigm shift if possible, and tell them positively who they are and whose they are. Don’t be like “girl idk why you fooling with him anyway he aint nothin’.” No, that’s wrong and you are wrong too. Instead you should speak life into your sister and affirm who she is in Christ.
Generally when people bring problems to other people they are seeking an amen corner. They want someone in cahoots with them and sometimes that’s ok but a lot of times it isn’t. Encouragement means speaking positively in all areas not bashing or gossiping. Somehow we have gotten these roads crossed and done more damage than not.
Remember that at the end of the conversation you want to leave happy and the person with whom you are speaking with wants to leave happy. Find ways to make the two roads converge.