"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."1
"Dr. Alfred Adler, the great psychologist, had an experience when he was a young boy. He got off to a bad start learning arithmetic, so his teacher became convinced that Adler was stupid when it came to mathematics. The teacher told his parents that the boy was dumb, and also told them not to expect much from him. His parents were convinced that the teacher's evaluation was correct.
"Therefore, Adler passively accepted the assessment that they had made of his abilities. And his grades in math proved that they were correct. However, one day he had a sudden flash of insight and thought he saw how to work a problem the teacher had put on the board that none of the other pupils could solve. He raised his hand and announced that he would like to do the problem. The students, and even the teacher, laughed at this. He became indignant. He strode to the blackboard and solved the problem perfectly much to everyone's amazement. And at that moment he realized that he could understand mathematics. He had been handed an unreal, negative self-evaluation, and he had believed it and performed on the basis of that assessment.
"Many of us have done the very same thing. Someone has told us that our abilities are limited, or that our dreams are unreachable. We have accepted that without question, and we go through life unhappy and unfulfilled. We become estranged from ourselves simply because we believe what others people have told us about ourselves."2
Every one of us—young and old alike—needs encouragement. To encourage someone is to put courage into them. To discourage is to take courage out of them. It costs nothing to put courage into another ... to speak a kind word ... to let them know you appreciate them ... to tell them you believe in them ... that you admire them ... to thank them and so on.
So, today, make a point of putting courage into your spouse ... your children ... your boss ... your employees ... and the clerk at the local store. Go out of your way to do it. And in blessing others you will be blessed yourself.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you love, believe in, and encourage me. Please use me to encourage and put courage into my loved ones and the people you bring into my life today. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
Note: See the poem, "Unsung Songs" at: http://tinyurl.com/songs-unsung.
1. Hebrews 3:13 (NIV).
2. Cited on www.sermons.com.