These are critically desperate times, almost everything around us is falling -- lives are falling, finances are falling, marriages are falling, values are falling, knees are wobbling, hearts are fainting, fear and despair are soaring. However, at times like this, we need men and women who can cheer up someone somewhere; to drive a dream to reality, to lift someone from the dust, to save someone from the brink, to rekindle a weak soul. Make no mistake about it, not only those facing negativities need encouragers, those who are doing very well equally have great need of encouragers. Our minds may immediately fly out to remote people and places, but for me, the key place to start is where charity begins -- at home. Your spouse needs your encouragement, your children, your parents, your siblings, your relatives, your friends, your priests, your parishioners, your bosses, your subordinates, your colleagues, everyone can do better with some encouragement. It behooves us then to enlist ourselves in the ministry of encouragement. Worst case scenario, if you cannot encourage, please never discourage.
Things changed so fast in today’s world; we almost cannot recognise things anymore. It feels like we just woke up one morning and have just met things the way we see them right now. We sometimes place people in boxes and probably, caging them psychologically. We think they are no good and don’t have the capacity we have. We find it hard to say anything that can help them in self development, to grow out of their shells and live to their full potential. If there is anything we say at all, it will be morally erroneous and spiritually without a base. And so we give them vain hope. We seem to be giving them the kind of encouragement which does not help in the long run. Sometimes, we tend to leave them aside. St Augistine reminds us that “nobody can be really known unless we love him”. What we probably need is to be an encouragement to the millions of people we see every blessed day, in need of some form of upliftment. This will greatly reduce risks of suicide, giving up in our marriages, on our vocations in life, giving up on projects because nobody wants to take responsibility, giving up on our kids, our faith and just being laxed about everything. We need to take the bold step to encourage the downtrodden, the weak in faith and in health. There are many who depend just on an encouraging word from us and they will be ready to pick life from where they left off.
Encouragement need not be by words or by actions, it can be as simple as a smile, a nod, a clap, a pat, a disposition, an attitude, a look, a wink, a thumbs up, a hug, a high five, a "chop knuckle", very small gestures. Whatever you can do, be an encourager, join the ministry of encouragement and support and together we can do something more beautiful for the world we live in.
Peace be with you!