‘Stephanas, Fortunatas, and Achaicus…have been a wonderful encouragement to me.’ 1 Corinthians 16:17-18 TLB
Most of us have no idea how much other people’s emotions, self-esteem and hopes are influenced by what we say. Paul said, ‘Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus…have been a wonderful encouragement to me.’ If you’ve never heard of them, it’s because most encouragers hate being the centre of attention. They’re happy to work in a supporting role. But without them very little would get done. The opposite of giving encouragement is spreading discouragement, and Paul says, ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up…that it may benefit those who listen.’ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) Jesus said, ‘…[You’ll] give account…by your words you will be justified, and…condemned.’ (Matthew 12:36-37 NKJV) What you say can never be taken back, and it’ll be used as evidence for or against you one day. Dr Thomas Blackaby points out, ‘Words…can leave scars for a lifetime, and many people will never forget some of the things you’ve said to them, both good things, such as words of encouragement, and bad things, such as criticism and rebuke… Make the best possible use of words so they bring blessings on others.’ So, are your words encouraging? Can it be said that there’s ‘…nothing crooked or perverse…in them’? (Proverbs 8:8 NKJV) Ask God to ‘Set a guard…over [your] mouth…’ (Psalm 141:3 NKJV) so whatever you say glorifies Him and lifts others up.
SoulFood: Num 30:1-32:24, Mark 5:1-10, Ps 44:9-16, Pr 11:10-11