Be an encourager
We all know what it’s like to feel low. It might be an illness, a difficult relationship or a boring job. But sometimes that feeling doesn’t go away. And it haunts us for a long time.
Author Mark Meynell describes his depression as “an ongoing, ever-present consciousness, a constant ache with occasional stabbing pains.”
In his book, When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend, he mentions people’s surprise that as a gospel minister he battles with mental health issues.
But depression doesn’t discriminate; it can affect anyone.
It affects me. I’ve battled depression and anxiety for a few years.
In your church, you won’t know how many people around you are saying with the psalmist, “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3).
So Paul’s words are all the more important:
“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Build one another up.
I recently received an overly negative email which unnecessarily tore me down. I felt crushed. Useless. Devalued.
I’m sure they didn’t intend it. But this is why Paul’s command is so important for all of us.
We don’t have our suffering written on our foreheads; therefore go out of your way to encourage everyone you speak to. Be careful with careless words or critique that will tear down.
As you begin talking to someone, ask yourself: What might build this person up?
What gifts has God given them? How do you see the Holy Spirit working in them? How has God used them recently in church life, or at a personal level?
You don’t know how the Holy Spirit may be using your words to bring the gospel’s healing power to a struggling saint or suffering sister.
We may never know. But our role is simple: be an encourager. Say what builds up, not what tears down.