I recently read that the average person gives 6 criticisms for every 1 encouragement. That explains why so many of our relationships are toxic and dysfunctional. We need to turn that around so that we are adding value and life to our relationships. The principle from the Bible is this: “…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:35 NLT) Yet according to the statistic very few of us are refreshing others with our words.
The old adage “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”, could not be any further from the truth. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have walked into my office over the years wanting to talk about something that a parent or an influencer or others kids said to them when they were young that is still haunting them. Many times they are middle aged adults still affected by words from their childhood. Their broken bones from that age have long since healed and the stories are a distant memory, but the wounds of words can last a lifetime.
The Proverbs writer said “…those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Do you see the benefit that is in this for you? You will be refreshed, but it begins with you refreshing others. Who are the others? Think through your concentric circle of influence, family, friends, loved one, employers, employees, co-workers and everyone you encounter. Make a commitment today to “refresh” someone in that circle with words of encouragement. Reverse your conversation to have 6 encouraging things to say to every 1 criticism. God will do amazing things in your relationships as you reverse the conversation scale and tip it toward encouragement. Not only will you be “refreshing” to others but you will be “refreshed”.
• Be Natural
If this is natural for you, simply continue to be natural. You don’t want to come off as inauthentic, no bait and switch. In Romans 12:8 Paul said: “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.”
• Be Disciplined
If encouraging others is not natural for you, then be disciplined. There are no excuses for just being a critical person. (If you are you are probably a pretty lonely person.) In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul said “Encourage each other and build each other up…” Notice that is not a suggestion.
• The Results
Why is this so important in our lives? Not only are we refreshed when we refresh others but here are more results that should make us want to encourage others: “Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then (here are the results) the God of love and peace will be with you.” (2 Cor 13:11 NLT) This is a win-win all around.
Take the challenge today to reversing your conversation scale: for every criticism you speak, speak 6 words of encouragement. Encouragement is a must on your Life Palette in order for you to fulfill your potential and live life as the masterpiece God created you to be.