Chocolates, flowers, and cards, are not cutting it, say men and women. According to a recent poll, men tend are disappointed by the impracticality of a token novelty Valentine gift, and women are disappointed by the lack of thoughtfulness of a Valentine gift. Is there a better way to recognize the one you love?
In his book, The Power of Encouragement, author David Jeremiah, deals simply and effectively with one of our deepest needs, the need for unconditional love, and one of the greatest gifts we give to meet that need in others: the gift of encouragement.
Dr. Jeremiah defines encouragement as the act of inspiring others with renewed courage, renewed spirit or renewed hope. Taking his cue from the Greek word for encouragement, he writes:
“An encourager is one who puts courage into the fainthearted…one who makes a very ordinary man or woman cope gallantly with a perilous and dangerous situation.”
In addition to giving candy to that special someone, why not also give them a personalized word of encouragement. Perhaps they are “fainthearted” needing a word of courage. Maybe they are facing a “perilous” or “dangerous” situation. A thoughtful encouragement might be the lift they really need.
How can you offer a good word of encouragement? There are certain characteristics of a good encourager, suggests Dr. Jeremiah.
1. Good encouragers are genuine. Don’t fake it. Be real.
3. Good encouragers are assertive. Don’t wait for them. Take the initiative.
4. Good encouragers are selfless. Show interest in what interests them.
As a follower of Jesus who seek to witness to Jesus, I believe that the ultimate encouragement is to point people to the love of God given to all in Jesus. God sent Jesus to be his encouraging word of unconditional love to all. And all who receive God’s love in Christ become conduits of God’s better love to others.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s show the world a better way of love than candy-hearts. Let’s show the way of Christ’s unconditional love, one person at a time, by well chosen words of encouragement.