Did you know that encouragement is a real spiritual gift that we are instructed to practice in the book of Romans? The word encouragement means to give someone heart — en coeur. Coeur is a French word for the heart, and when you encourage others, you give a lift to someone who’s out of steam and not ready to go another day. You give them a little push. In Greek, the word for this spiritual gift is paraklesis. It means to call to one’s side.
We put this into practice when someone is feeling beaten up, down, or discouraged; you come alongside them, you put your arm around them and you say, “You’ve got a friend in me. I’m gonna be by your side. You can do this. We can do this together.” Friend, when you put your arm around someone, and you convince them that it’s not over yet, you’re also convincing yourself it’s not over yet. All of your encouragement comes back to you! Even now, as I’m saying this, I’m feeling encouraged!
Friend, what a gift it is to your neighbor when you encourage them. Tell your friends, “I’m so glad to see you and I missed you.” Let your spouse know, “I’m so glad I’m married to you and I’m so grateful to do life with you.” As you speak these loving words, your own life will be strengthened. The gift of encouragement has such a great personal benefit at such little cost. Why wouldn’t we do it, right?