Proverbs 12:25 says, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” Over and over in the Bible we see examples and read exhortations about how words can be used for righteous and relevance or for ruin and rebellion. In Proverbs 12, we read about what words can be:
- Helpful- verse 12
- Healthy- verse 14
- Healing- verse 18
- Hopeful- verse 19
- Honorable- verse 22
On the other hand, we see how very hurtful words can be. He says they are like the piercings of a sword. Words can cause so much damage. We are never more like Christ than when we are encouraging His people. I want God to use my words to encourage people, don’t you?
I think about Barnabas who was known in the Bible as the son of encouragement. I want to be an encourager; I want to say words that encourage people. When someone walks away from a conversation they had with me, I want them to say “God is for me. God can use me. I can amount to something.”
You may remember the poet Elizabeth Browning who was sick for many years and virtually an invalid. Around age 15, Elizabeth experienced intense head and spinal pain along with loss of mobility. She began to battle what would be a lifelong illness which the medical scientists of the time were unable to diagnose. It was said that she fell while trying to saddle a horse, and it was even rumored that she was just creating the illness for sympathy; but there is strong evidence that she was seriously ill. This illness caused her to be frail and weak. She got to the point where she couldn’t even lift her head off of her pillow and began to take opiates for the pain. One day a man named Robert Browning came to visit her. His first visit filled her heart with such joy and pleasure that she actually lifted her head from her pillow. His second visit was so good that she actually sat up in bed; and, on his third visit, they eloped!
See the power of encouragement? Encourage someone in the Lord today, for you are never more like Christ than when you are encouraging His people. I wonder, who today is weak and frail on the bed of discouragement, needing to hear some encouraging words? I wonder if I’ll be used to deliver that encouragement?