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Here’s a story that I came across about “The Two Frogs” to clearly illustrate the power of encouragement towards progression or regression: A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
Two important lessons to derived from this story: (1) That the tongue holds the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Remember that a word of encouragement to someone who is already down can boost him or her up and support him or her to make it through the day. (2) That a disparaging word to someone who is down can be the trigger to kill him or her. Therefore, be careful of what you declare and speak at any given moment.
Always aspire to always speak life to those in your path because words spoken can become a powerful ally or a worst enemy. It is sometimes hard to understand that an encouraging word can go such a long way towards betterment or tragedy. Keep in mind that anyone can speak words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in difficult times. That is why; special is the individual who will take the time to encourage another to do greater things rather than the opposite.
William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims shared, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.” Unquestionably, a wholesome word of encouragement can transform an unlikely individual to do grander things beyond their capabilities. On the other hand, nobody wants to be discouraged and to find himself or herself alone without anyone to boost them up. That’s why, while it is true that the concept of just “being there” can provide comfort initially however, a specific word of assurance and support goes a long way in instilling strength for the person to move forward confidently.
What are the necessary steps to do to encourage another positively? Here are some specific things to practice and apply another person anytime: “A compliment can be a great motivator, particularly if you put a little thought into the why, when, and how of delivering it. Be sure to comment whenever someone on your staff keeps working in the face of rejection, handles a difficult situation well, catches an error, given another employee a helping hand, sells a particular product for the first time, or gives you a lead that proves fruitful. Most of the time, a compliment should be given in public, either at a meeting or on the company bulletin board. If the situation is delicate, convey your praise through a personal note that the employee can share with his family. As with all rewards, praise should be given immediately after good performance to provide the greatest reinforcement.”~ Bits & Pieces, May 27, 1993, p. 12. With this in mind, we need to become fully responsible to whatever will come out from our mouth as the Scriptures gave a stern warning about it: “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken” (Matthew 12:36 NIV).
Lastly, never forget that we have God to encourage us when all other else cannot. When Joshua was discouraged, God spoke to him these words: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV). Through God’s words, Joshua was able to do what God wanted Him to do with much success. When we turn to God’s Word for encouragement, we will surely be transformed as a brand new person.
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