Today we continue the "Who I Am at Home" series. Last week I discussed how women's inward attitudes can impact the atmosphere inside their homes. This morning, I want to discuss how easy it is for women to encourage others outside the home than encouraging their own family. Whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed God calls all believers to encourage others. Sometimes we fail to consider our family as a ministry.
The thought occurred to me how it's sometimes easier to be a great encourager to other believers outside the home than to my own family. I can send cards, make calls, take meals, buy little presents or books to encourage others, but how good am I at encouraging my husband, child, or my parent
s. If I had siblings I would be encouraging them too but I am an only child but I mention them because a lot of you have siblings and have an opportunity to be encouraging them in the LORD no matter their age. What about you? How good a job are you doing building your family up in the LORD?
It's easy to take our families for granted. When times are good, we can easily fail to consider their needs, ask for prayer requests or even take time to consider what their needs may be. Because they don't come to us with a prayer request or tell us something they are struggling with, we can fail to see the need to encourage them like we should. In fact, we have countless opportunities to be encouraging them day after day. But encouragement requires time and energy. It requires us to pray, think, and consider how we can encourage our family and then be committed and deliberate in seeing it through. It requires us to consider their needs before our own. What if we woke up every morning thinking of others in our family before we ever thought about our self? Imagine how our homes would be transformed to be more like Christ?
The bible says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Encouraging means we build others up. We don't tear them down. Sometimes in families, its easier to criticize (the material is never ending right!) and find fault with family members because we see everything. There is nothing they can hide from us or vice versa. It's an open book. Therefore its easier to find fault with them. But it's not biblical. It's selfish.
We encourage our spouse by saying nice things and replying in a gentle tone. We encourage them by telling them what we appreciate about them and what we see God doing in their life. We encourage them by saying 'thank you' and noticing things they have done to help around the house. We encourage them by leaving a note in their car, in their briefcase or in their bible. They don't expect it. It lets them know we think about them. Making time for them and giving them undivided attention lets them know we value what they have to say and aren't in a hurry being a superwoman multi-task master.
We encourage our parents by calling them and checking on them. We encourage them by telling them we appreciate all they have done for us to get us where we are today. We can still take a meal to them out of the blue or buy them gift cards if they don't cook anymore in their old age. It lets them know we think of them. If they are struggling with a disease, we can encourage them by telling them we are proud of how they live each day to the fullest despite their struggles and offer our help even when they never ask.
Kids are in need of encouragement all the time. They are growing each day and are faced with new opportunities to learn new things. It's hard growing up! They need to know they are doing a good job. Tell them what you see them doing right and that you notice it and you are proud of them. So many times we discipline them and at times all they hear is what they are doing 'wrong.'
Siblings either have a good relationship, a bad relationship or no relationship at all. Whether they are walking with the LORD or not, as a believer you will be accountable for how you treated them. Would God say 'well done' or 'why didn't you seize the opportunity?' For some of you, your sibling may be your best friend and you are a great encourager to them. For others, you haven't talked to your sibling in forever. There is much water under the bridge or they will not talk to you. Maybe you have tried to encourage them but you have been rejected. Remember, it's not about you! It's about you being faithful to Christ to build the body of believers up. I encourage you to reach out to them whether or not they reach back to you.
The Time is NOW
Oftentimes we have good intentions to encourage others but we procrastinate. The bible says,"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13). Encourage your family today. Don't delay. You never know what tomorrow will bring.