Have you ever felt down or been hurt and then lifted by the encouraging words of a friend? It’s such a blessing, isn’t it? Here are a few ways for you to become a better encourager yourself:
Learn to be a Good Listener
There’s nothing worse than baring your soul to someone and for them to respond with something that makes you suspect they weren’t really listening. When you have a friend or loved one feeling down, stop what you’re doing and really listen to what they’re saying.
Don’t Try to Fix a Situation
If someone is clinically depressed, has lost a loved one, or is in an extremely difficult situation, one of the very worst things you can do is to fix the situation on your own, especially if they don’t want your help or there’s nothing you can actually do to fix it.
Don’t say anything that resembles, “Well you just have to get better” or “Well you just have to move on.” Also, steer clear of things like, “Well, I would do is …” or “You know what you need is ….” Instead, lovingly listen and ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Lift up your friend or loved one by sharing with them the good things about them and the good things God has in store for them. It’s more important to be sensitive and for that person to feel loved in this moment than it is for the situation to be miraculously over.
Look for Opportunities to Build Up Others
Don’t wait until someone is in the midst of a crisis! Take time to notice the things that others do well and let them know that you see their valuable contributions!
Remember God’s Promises
Take time to read and reflect on the promises God makes in the Bible. You’ll be surprised how often they are encouraging during difficult times. Share those with loved ones in a dark place.
Memorize Bible Verses About Encouragement
The Bible is filled with verses that encourage us when we’re feeling down or truly in the midst of an extremely difficult situation. While it is absolutely not helpful to spout verses off to someone in pain and then walk away, what is helpful is to memorize these verses and to find ways to lovingly share them in actions as well as words.
Some good examples are:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your GOd will be with you wherever you go.
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.