Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.– Leo Buscaglia
Too many times people cut down, criticize, complain, and berate others. Thus, they destroy countless souls in the process. They may think the recipient of their brutality “deserves” these hostile words, and these verbal abusers often get away with their crimes. There is not even a law against verbal abuse, the way there is against physical or sexual abuse. However, I think there should be.
Also, there is a lack of encouragement, complimenting, and genuine kindness in the general words society uses to speak to one another. However, given the power of negative words, the same can be said of the power of positive words. Some people may think encouraging others won’t make a major impact on them, but we never know what other people are going through. We may not know how much it took for them to get out of bed today, or what pains and burdens they carry in their lives.
When we live to encourage others through our words, and live to love them, we not only show ourselves strong, but we show others that we are open to understanding and caring about them. For instance, if you work, when was the last time that you thanked your boss for all the good that he or she did, instead of complaining about policies that don’t sit well with you? When was the last time you spoke a words of encouragement to a helpful co-worker? If you go to school, when was the last time you sincerely and thoughtfully thanked a teacher that has made a positive impact in your life, instead of complaining about all the ones you don’t like? When was the last time you thanked your family for the good that they have done for you? When was the last time you thanked the mail carrier or the maintenance person for doing a good job?
When we encourage others through our gratitude for them, this shows that we appreciate and value them. In a society that increasingly devalues people and things; we can upset the applecart, so to speak, by showing gratitude and encouraging the good in people. Rachel Joy Scott called this, “Finding the light” in their souls.
When we encourage those who are hurting, they can more easily and quickly heal from their wounds, whether it would be emotional or physical. When people’s souls are dying because of the effects of verbal abuse, we can revive them by countering the abusers’ verbal attacks with the truths of love. Tell these people, whose souls are on life support, that, first of all, the abuse was never their fault. Tell them that they are always beautiful and worthy of love—because they are. Tell and show them that they are truly loved and needed on this earth. Provide specific examples of how these survivors can overcome and eradicate the world of lies that threaten to kill their souls, and also provide specific examples of how much value and love they still possess in this world, especially if they feel that value has been stripped from them. For instance, I watched this video about how a young woman named Leah was abused by her wicked boyfriend and how she is now using her story to encourage others going through a similar thing. I would say to Leah, that by her using her voice to tell her story, she is helping others going through something similar to not have to feel alone and that she is strong to be able to survive such degrading abuse. I would say that I see her beauty, inside and out, and that no matter what anyone else says, and thus she is a beautiful and amazing person, inside and out.
We can also encourage those we consider our enemies. For instance, for a long time, I did not get along with some people at work. However, one of my pastors, told me to pray blessings for them and to intentionally and sincerely try to be kind to them. I am not going to lie. It is so difficult the first time one does this, and it doesn’t always work the first time. This is what I call the “burning coals principle,” meaning that encouraging and being kind to our enemies makes them run out of ammunition against us, because who wants to be known for repaying evil for good?! So, I found that when I did this sincerely and intentionally, that the enemies either became my friends, or they at least softened considerably in their attitude and behavior towards me.
Never underestimate the power of a kind and encouraging word. Encouragement can brighten someone’s day, and can even, in some cases, save someone’s life. Who can you encourage today? May you be able to create a spark in someone’s life through the words you say and the actions that back them up.