Encouragement holds potential for change

Therefore, encourage one another, build up each other, as indeed you are doing. —1Thessalonians 5:11

I have often observed how a warm greeting or a cheerful “Hello” sets the stage for a productive experience with another. We certainly find ourselves in need for some hope and encouragement in the world with all of its conflict.

If we listen to the conversations around the table at breakfast or in the various settings in our neighborhood, the topics of the possibility of the Islamic State attacking us, the corruption of the White House, and the continual need for our economy to stabilize give us cause for alarm.

What we need most of all is for someone to say, “It is going to be OK.” We need someone to help us with these fears or someone to bring us hope and solace. For me and my house, I will choose the Lord to be the one.

There have been many studies that highlight the power of encouragement. One that I recall from my basic psychology class is the blue-eyed and brown-eyed children’s experiment.

In this experiment, 100 children with brown eyes were treated casually and with very little encouragement or affirmation for one year. A test group of 100 blue-eyed children were encouraged to excel and to be held on a regular schedule for one year.

At the end of this one year, the two groups were tested; as you might perceive, the blue-eyed children achieved much more than the brown-eyed children and were happier in their everyday interactions with the total group.

I don’t know about you, but I would hope that this experiment would cause us to think and act in a more positive and encouraging way to each other each day that God provides for us.

I personally need encouragement as much as anyone else. Just recently, I received a note of encouragement from one of my friends that made my day and lifted my spirits. This positive act cannot be evaluated as to how much it affects one’s spirit.

Therefore, Jesus says to go and do likewise. I challenge each of you to start your day by praying for God to lead you to someone to whom the act of encouragement would make a difference in their day and touch them in a positive way.

The Rev. Robert Miller is director of Agape Family Ministries. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.