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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, February 08 2024

Encouraging words

Positive speech can cheer us up (Proverbs 12:25) and bring joy (Proverbs 15:23), while rash or reckless words act like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18), and gossiping about others can ruin friendships (Proverbs 16:28).

The Bible shows us how to use speech as a positive tool to strengthen and build relationships, while spreading God's way of life through our words. Appropriate speech is like "apples of gold in settings of silver" (Proverbs 25:11) and "a honeycomb [that brings] sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

The ability to choose what we say to others is a precious gift from God, yet the human capacity to use speech to inflict pain is one of the most dangerous weapons we possess. Knowing what to say and when and how to say it takes wisdom (Proverbs 16:23). The Bible tells us being able to control our speech is equivalent to keeping the "whole body in check" and is described as "perfect" (James 3:2).

Being an encourager is an essential part of being a Christian, and instructions to encourage one another appears many times throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 1:38; 3:28; Acts 15:32; Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:14; 2 Timothy 4:2). There are various ways we can use encouraging words to edify or build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), including sharing thanks and appreciation, offering support, paying compliments and even using written words of encouragement (1 Peter 5:12).

The prophets Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32), as well as Tychicus (Ephesians 6:22; Colossians 4:8) were sent to encourage believers, strengthening their faith and convictions, as well as promoting harmony and unity.

In Acts God told Ananias, in a vision, to go to the house where Saul of Tarsus was staying. Saul had maliciously worked against the spread of the Gospel, yet God instructed Ananias to "place his hands on [Saul] to restore his sight" (Acts 9:10-12), which he had lost when Christ miraculously appeared to him. Even though Ananias was aware of the evil Saul had done, he obeyed, laying his hands on Saul and telling him he would regain his sight and become an "instrument" to spread the Gospel (Acts 9:13-17). Instantly Saul was able to see again, was baptized and went on to do the work of God (Acts 9:18-19), becoming the Apostle Paul.

The Bible instructs us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), as well to do good to those who hate us and bless those who curse us (Luke 6:27-28). One way to do this is to encourage others and to pray for them. Sometimes we will have the opportunity to encourage people we don't even know, and at other times those who may have hurt us.

Becoming an encouraging person will not only positively impact the lives of others, but will also improve our own attitude and outlook on life.