I’ve heard it said that, if you treated every person you met like they’re hurting, nine times out of ten, you’d be right. I don’t know about you, but I’m naturally selfish. When someone is rude or snappy to me, I assume that there’s something wrong with them, and therefore, I have the right to snap back. I don’t think it would be farfetched, however, to say that many of them are walking through circumstances more difficult than I can imagine.
What if, instead of snapping, I took the time to encourage them?
Humans seem to have this tendency to focus on the critical things people say about them and to them. I do it all the time. But when someone encourages me, it can sometimes make my week. When I’m discouraged, I have a few notes that I go back and read and a few specific conversations full of encouraging words that I think back to.
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by people who love me and speak life into me, and their encouragement as turned entire days and weeks around. If that’s the power that encouragement has, then that’s how I want to respond to friends, and even strangers, who are discouraged.
It’s not hard, either, and it really doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it can turn someone’s day upside down.