I went from being a bitter person, thinking everyone was against me, to becoming a believer full of hope – and wanting to share that with others. Only Christ could have taken me from the angry person I was to the encouraging person I try to be today. I have hopes to teach my children to do the same. Examine below how to help your child be an encourager, instead of who we were before Christ.
The issues we have in our lives could leave us feeling defeated and without hope. Yet, we know that Christ can transform us. His Word can encourage, and you, in turn, can encourage others.
This post is part of the Building Virtues in Your Children Series
Once I came to know Jesus, I became a different person. I wanted to encourage people and to lift up their spirits because I knew how truly good He was.
However, at one point I had to ask myself if I was being a flatterer since the Lord tells us NOT to be a flatterer.
Proverbs 26:28 says, “…a flattering mouth works ruin.”
I read that, and it stopped me in my tracks. I was used to speaking life into my friends, encouraging them, telling them they were beautiful, and lovely, etc. I thought, “Am I a flatterer?!”
I eventually found that being an encourager was not flattering people. I studied those who gave encouragement in God’s Word.
Paul, when writing to the ecclesia, stated truths about the people he was writing to. He called Timothy, a brother, beloved, and fellow worker. Each of these encouraging words is true. Paul is known as the great encourager. We can see it in every greeting he wrote to other churches while he was imprisoned. Encouraging others while at your lowest point in life, now that is inspiring.
Another example of Paul is when he instructed the Colossians’ hearts to be encouraged. He urged them to be knit together in love and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and Christ” (Col. 2:1-2).
During the siege of the city by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, Hezekiah gave the discouraged people of Jerusalem reassuring words.
In Acts 11:22–26, we see that a church in Jerusalem “sent forth Barnabas, to go to Antioch where he saw the grace of God, was glad and exhorted them all.” The name Barnabas even means Son of Encouragement.
Encouragement is a necessity.
I found time and time again in scripture where it says for us to be strong and courageous, to encourage one another, to build each other up, and to comfort one another. I knew then that encouraging others is not flattery as long as what we are saying is true. We can learn how to encourage others rightly, as Jesus did.
It isn’t complicated to be an encourager. It is as easy as others find it to be negative or to put others down. Through Jesus’ life, we can put very practical steps into practice to be an encourager in the way that the Lord would be pleased. How amazing is that!?
I read a passage about encouraging others that was profoundly inspiring to me. It read:
“It’s a rough world out there, and as Christians, we simply cannot afford not to encourage one another.”
I honestly could not imagine where I would be without my sisters-in-Christ encouraging me out of my hole when I was at the lowest point in my life.
To teach our kids to be encouragers in this day and age is not just something they should do. It is something they NEED to do. Now, how can we help them?
Here are a few ways you can help your child be an encourager, despite what may be going on in life.
To raise an encourager, BE an encourager.
Let them view you as an encourager yourself. Cheer on friends and family, rejoice with those who rejoice around you. Make it a habit to encourage your children and others in the Lord, which brings me to the next point.
Encourage others… in a godly way.
Like I mentioned, insincere flattery is not what we want to teach our children. Therefore, teaching our children where encouragement should come from is important.
For instance, let them know that encouraging others should point the other person towards Christ, not an inflated sense of self. It should urge the person to remain faithful to the Lord even through hard times; it should point people to repentance and towards living a life worthy of the King. It should encourage people to follow their dreams within the parameters that the Lord allows in His holy Word.
Don’t just be a say-er, be a do-er.
Encouragement doesn’t always have to come in words. Merely, making gestures of appreciation can encourage others. For instance, bake cookies with your kids and take them to a fire station or police station. Put little notes of encouragement on each cookie or send the batch with a letter of encouragement you have all written together.
Take the time to notice when someone does something kind and encourage them to know their gesture was not in vain. If a neighbor pulls your trash bin in for you, make sure your family can do it for them another day. If you see a neighbor keeping up the garden that beautifies the neighborhood, take a picture of their work and frame it for them. Send it over with a thank you note for their efforts to make a beautiful view for visitors. It takes next to nothing to be kind to someone. Being kind and showing small gestures of gratitude can encourage someone more than you know.
Just one more thing before you go…
I need to mention that encouraging others shouldn’t be a false hope or an untruth as to flatter. For instance, I know that many people tell people if they have faith, God WILL heal a loved one. The truth is that God’s will be done, no matter it is good or bad – in our favor or not.
We shouldn’t tell others that God wants to bless them when you fully should know that a blessing may not come in a way that seems a good thing at the time. We don’t tell people everything will be OK when we know it may not be. We don’t tell others that a passed loved one is in heaven when there is evidence from their lifestyle they may not be.
In your words, for encouragement to your kids and in helping your children be encouragers, don’t lie and don’t give false hope.
Jesus encouraged his very depressed disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. What an example he set for us all! Being an encouragement to those all around is crucial in a day when so many are being gripped by depression and loneliness. Teaching our children to be encouragers will fill up hearts, put smiles in people’s faces, and, most of all, be pleasing to the Lord.
Help build children practice good character and habits (including being a good friend) with the resources below:
Take a look at our Building Virtues in Your Children series for more on helping your kids grow in Christ.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!