All human beings need to know that they are of value, that they are worth something, that they do some things well. St. Paul needed to be encouraged; Michael Jordan needed to be encouraged; the man serving a life sentence in prison needs to be encouraged. While most of us would recognize that this is true, we can often resist when someone encourages us. Hmmmmm… why is this so?
In the classic movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, George Bailey compliments Violet on her pretty dress… she responds, “What, this old thing… I only wear it when I don’t care how I look.” Sometimes I can do a similar thing. If someone say, “Dave, that’s a nice shirt, is it new…. oh no, Judy picked it up at ACTS II for $2.00….. or Dave I enjoyed your BLOG the other day…” oh well, every dog has his day.. hey, a broken clock is right twice a day…..hahahhahah.” Why do I do that ?
While over the years I’ve gotten somewhat better at accepting encouragement, there is still something in me that resists. I read in a report recently “that nearly 70% of people associated feelings of embarrassment or discomfort with recognition or receiving a compliment.” So it’s not just me. While some studies attributed this to low self esteem, other studies said it’s not that simple…in fact sometimes it’s that we often get surprised by the compliment. (Harvard Business Review, April 2021, “Do Compliments Make You Cringe” by Christopher Littlefield) Regardless of the reasons, most agreed that it’s not good to reject encouragement.
We all need to know that we are of value. We need to allow God to hug us, to encourage us, to smile at us and tell us “good job, I’m pleased.” Think of what it must have meant to those who received encouragement from the Lord… to the centurion, the woman cured of the hemorrhage, to the apostles, to John the Baptist, on and on and on. To know that God thinks highly of what we are doing. Remember, even Jesus needed encouragement from his father in heaven… ”this is my beloved son, in who I am well pleased.”(Mt. 3:17)
So let us receive the encouragement given to us by the Lord …. directly or thru others. We need to receive it. And let us be ready to give encouragement to all our friends and family, etc. who also need to receive it.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1Thes. 5:11) And all will be well with our soul.