“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.” When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” Daniel 10:19
Never underestimate the power of your words. The movie, STAND AND DELIVER, portrayed the story of Jaime Escalante who was an incredibly successful teacher in a rough high
school. In his class were two students named Johnny. One was a bright student and a joy to teach. The other wasted his talent and bucked authority. At the first PTA meeting for parents, Johnny’s mother asked Jaime for a report on her son’s progress. Jaime’s reply was, “Johnny is a joy to have in my class, I’m glad he is there.” The next day, rebellious Johnny walked into the classroom with a new attitude and demeanor. He ran up to Mr. Escalante and said, “My mom told me what you said about me. I’ve never had a teacher who wanted me.” He became a model student.
Mr. Escalante thought that Johnny’s mother was the mother of his best student. His comments were meant for the other Johnny’s mom, but the results were dramatic. The word spoken at the right moment – carefully crafted – caused dramatic change.
I had a moment recently when like Daniel I found myself face down on the ground, and a friend said, “don’t worry, it will be okay, I’ll stay with you.” In that moment I was comforted and strengthened. Those same words have been spoken many times by our Abba Father. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” And Deuteronomy 31:9 tells us, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Encouragement improves attitude. We never feel worse after someone encourages us. Encouragement almost by definition makes us feel better, puts a bounce in our step, and smiles on our face. And when our attitude is better, we are healthier, happier, and more productive. Why wouldn’t we want to provide that to others?
Who in your sphere needs encouragement? Maybe a coworker, friend, spouse, child, sibling, or parent. Ask God to reveal someone when you pray today who needs a word to strengthen them. Maybe it will be the one who seems least deserving of a word of praise or encouragement but needs it the most. Maybe that one word of encouragement will start a flood of change.