“If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. [Love in Action] Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:8-10
Life has its moments! One of those moments is when you need to encourage a family member, when it seems that there is no power within you to do this. I have found myself there on so many occasions, and I find myself here once again today.
This time not for a daughter or son with a broken heart because “the love of their life” just broke up with them or did something really bad that hurt them deeply. Been there, done that. This time it is my husband, and not just my husband but my pastor as well.
How on earth can I find the words that are needed to be that encourager that Romans is talking about? But then I reread this verse:
It tells us exactly how to do this when you are too tired, too hurt, too devastated with life. There are five requirements given to complete this task.
First, we are love. Not just superficial but to love sincerely. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” I Peter 4:8. When we love in this way, we can reach deep down inside and pull out that encouraging word or words.
Second, we have to hate what is evil. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20
We have to walk away from evil and remind those we love that evil does exist, but it does not need to be a driving force in our lives. I remember a quote from a film, “We all have evil within us, but we can choose to not let it out,” or something like that.
Third, cling to one another. “They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted” Job 41:17. We need to hang onto each other. Just as we hold onto or are grafted into Jesus. In other words, really be there for your loved ones.
Fourth, be devoted to one another in love. “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: ‘This is what the Lord says: I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown’” Jeremiah 2:2. Be devoted to the person who needs you, like a young bride that would follow her man to the ends of the earth and back again. When you find that devotion – words will come.
Fifth, honor one another above yourself. In other words, be willing to take the back seat and put someone else before you. When you really love someone it should not be with a “what’s in it for me” attitude.
So ladies, if you have a child, husband, parent, grand parent or even friend that needs you to give words of encouragement and you have none to give, look at these verses. Remember that what you need is sincere love, hating evil, clinging to each other with devotion, and honor those before yourself. Then the words will come, God can do good things with us when we submit to Him and allow these things to be in our lives.