Think about a mentor, a coach or an older teammate who took you aside to speak words of truth and encouragement. What happened when they spoke life over you and saw your potential, encouraging you to embrace what God has given you? How did that make you feel? Chances are you’ve replayed that conversation in your mind, even years after it happened.
Words matter. Maybe more than we know.
Encouragement is one of the most life-giving necessities we can both give and receive.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb:
sweet to the taste and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
Where does deep and lasting encouragement come from? From the truth of God’s Word and who He says we are.
And how does someone truly experience the freedom and peace that comes from Jesus? They experience grace instead of condemnation.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
No one felt this more acutely than a woman in Judea, who was brought to the temple to receive a sentencing for being caught in adultery. The Pharisees were waiting for a chance to trap Jesus, and this woman was a pawn in their game.
“At dawn he went to the temple again, and all the people were coming to him. He sat down and began to teach them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. ‘Teacher,’ they said to him, ‘this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’ They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him.” (John 8:2-6)
The woman stood in front of holy men who were ready to condemn. They turned to Jesus and laid out this woman’s charges, then asked His thoughts.
What does Jesus do?
He writes in the sand. We’re not sure of the words, but they made an impact. Then, He spoke, and each of the men backed away.
Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:6-7)
One by one, the accusers left, until only Jesus and the woman remained.
As the woman lifted her eyes and met Jesus’ gaze, she found kindness instead of condemnation. Jesus told her the truth of her sin, but that He also sees deeper than her actions.
“When Jesus stood up, he said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, Lord,’ she answered.
‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.’” (John 8:10-11)
This woman experienced the personal attention, care and encouragement her heart longed for, perhaps for the first time. Jesus loved her, and it changed everything.
Words have the power to wreak havoc and divide, or they can connect and inspire. Jesus had choice words for those who abused the Law, He was firm and convicting. But for those who recognized their need for a Savior, His words were full of gentleness, empathy, love and life. He saw the good in others and who they could become when they lived out of their identity as God’s children.
Who around you needs encouragement? Is a teammate going through something difficult at home? Tell them something you’ve noticed about their character that you admire. Is someone on your coaching staff feeling pressure with their job? Speak truth over who they are in God’s eyes and remind them He has good plans for their life. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Find ways to call out the good in others by using words. Want what’s best for them in Christ and look for ways to live it out. There’s greater purpose when we go together.
LIVE IT OUT:
“’He must increase, but I must decrease.’” -John 3:30
Question: Are you calling out the good in others or complaining about them? What can help you change your attitude?
Challenge: Speak a word of encouragement to three people today and remind them how loved by God they are.