Every person you walk by on the street or pass at the bank or stand beside in the grocery store line may as well be wearing an invisible sign that reads, “Encourage me.” All people need encouragement, even if they don’t want to admit it. In fact, it’s usually the ones who won’t admit it—the ones who walk around with the biggest scowls on their faces—who need encouragement the most. And you have the ability to give them exactly what they need. As you begin speaking from a God-focused heart, encouraging words will come naturally. You will begin seeing other people as God sees them, which will make you want to encourage them to grow in that direction.
One of my favorite quotations comes from Goethe and speaks to this truth:
If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain
how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he
ought to be and could be, he will become what he
ought to be and could be.
That is the essence of encouragement—treating the people in your life as the best possible versions of themselves, whether they are currently living up to that standard or not.
What if you practiced speaking encouragement to your spouse, your children, or your friends? Instead of focusing on what they do wrong and nitpicking their faults, what if you started treating them as if they already were all they could be? What if your words grew out of the vision of their fulfilled potential instead of their current reality? You would begin to see them grow and flourish in ways you never imagined. Those are the kind of words that have the power to affect people for a lifetime. Trust me, the people in your life already know what their problems and weaknesses are; they don’t need you to tell them. When you become a source of encouragement to them rather than a faultfinder and self-appointed problem-fixer, you are cooperating with God in building them into who he wants them to be.
The above was taken as an excerpt from Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live by Nelson Searcy and Jennifer Dykes Henson. For more information on how you can use your words to build a better life, visit tonguepierced.com.
Nelson Searcy is the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church and the author of more than 80 church leadership resources, including 14 best-selling books. He currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida, with his family. Jennifer Dykes Henson is a writer based in New York City. Before finding success with Tongue Pierced, Jennifer worked with Dr. Charles Stanley for In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.