imageA friend of mine recently paid me a compliment that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. It wasn’t anything fancy. Her words were simple and direct with absolutely no frills. And yet they truly spoke to my heart.

“I just love being friends with you!”

See. I told you it was simple. But it really made me feel good!

So good, in fact, that I mulled it over a little too much in my head until I had to ask myself the question: How often do I give simple words of encouragement to those around me?

You’re talented. It’s so great seeing you use your gifts in the manner that you do.

Your attitude is so uplifting. I am blessed to call you my friend.

You make me laugh. I am so glad we can hang out and share these funny moments together.

Your prayers mean the world to me. Thank you for remembering to include me in those intercessions.

So simple. So encouraging. But do we do it enough?

I’ll be honest when I say that I have the tendency to use a lot of words. The perfectionist in me often thinks that my “tell you how I really feel” moments must come with a preface, an epilogue and a good amount of chapters in between. And I’m not saying there isn’t a time or a place for that, but life is full and the Bible commands that we lift each other up daily. 365 days a year!

Are we going to miss out on lifting others up because we won’t take the time to squeeze in a few words of straight-from-the-heart encouragement?

Exhortation scores high on my list of spiritual gifts. But (and there’s always a but) – I will be the first to admit that I want to lace my encouraging words with such inspiration that one might confuse it for an introduction to the recipient of the Special Achievement Academy Award.

News flash: It’s not all about me.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, elaborate or even politically correct.

It should be honest. Heart felt. Timely. If we feel it on our hearts to bestow encouraging words we shouldn’t refrain from speaking them. All too often the moment passes us by and those words are left unspoken…vanishing from the pattern of our thoughts entirely.

I am reminded of Jeremiah and his mention of the “balm of Gilead.” We know this to be a substance of healing. I can think of nothing more balming to the soul than words that speak life, not only for the recipient, but for those who are doing the encouraging.

So stop and take a moment today. Speak uplifting words to those around you…

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
(Proverbs 16:24, NIV)