Encouragement That Restores

Take a look at Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV):

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

The phrase “encourage one another daily” is so important.  In the original language, this phrase is in the present tense.  In other words, this is to be an ongoing encouragement.  It’s not a once a week or once a month thing.  This is a daily, all the time thing.  Also, the original language says, “encourage yourselves.”  What do you think that means with regard to the family of God?  It means that we are to be so close to one another that to encourage someone is just like encouraging yourself.
Encouragement is so important.  The Greek word means to “comfort, encourage, cheer up.”  When people are down, we are to cheer them up with words of encouragement.  When people are mourning, we are to comfort them with words of encouragement.  When people are discouraged, we are to encourage them.  We are to be doing this on a daily basis in the family of God.  Why?  Because the outside world is not a place of encouragement.  This is a hardened world.  Everywhere we look there are people who are hardened by sin and bitterness.  People are unforgiving and mean.  The world is cold and unbelieving.  But in the church, we are to encourage each other so that none will fall away.  Rather than condemning others, let us encourage one another.
How do we do that?  I believe that there are a couple of different ways.  One, we can lift the spirits of our brothers and sisters with words and acts of kindness.  Proverbs 12:25 (NIV) says,

Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.

When people are anxious and fearful, let us use kind words to encourage them.
Two, we can encourage each other in our spiritual lives.  When we see someone slipping or straying, let us encourage them to get back on the narrow path.  When we see someone backsliding or engaging in sinful behavior, let us gently lead them back to where they belong.  This requires that we make a right judgment (John 7:24) and that we make sure we’ve dealt with the plank in our own eye before we point out the speck of dust in our brother or sister’s eye.  Let us gently encourage our brothers and sisters to come back into the fold rather than shaming or condemning them.  Let us use encouragement to facilitate restoration.

PRAYER: Father God, I want to be someone who encourages others today. Let my speech be filled with encouraging words instead of words that discourage others. Help me to build people up instead of tearing them down. Amen.


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