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As Christians, we must take it upon ourselves to do our best to encourage others

You're having a bad day and someone offers encouraging words that totally changes your mood. Your day is a lot better because of those words.

If you have been given the gift of encouraging others, use that gift. It is a gift that is sometimes lacking in all of life's situations.

Encouragement is needed in schools, not just by teachers, but by fellow students and in the workforce, by both bosses and employees.

Encouragement is vital at home, at church, in a club or organization, in your neighborhood, and to the officials who serve you. It is a gift that can be learned and used by everyone.

It seems that there's more complaining, back biting, showing others their faults and mistakes, and putting others down, rather than building others up and helping others to succeed. We can see this in every facet of our society, and in every facet it needs to change.

Now before I go on, there are a lot of great encouraging people in the world, and I hope that you are one of them. Keep up the good work!

However, if we really think about it, there have been times when all of us have not reacted in a way that benefits someone but instead hurts the individual. We all make mistakes, and that's why we all need forgiveness. We always need to ask for forgiveness when we know we have hurt someone.

There are many times when we just don't take the time to be an encouragement to others. It all starts with us as individuals. We need to take it upon ourselves to do our best to encourage others. It doesn't start with others encouraging us. If there is someone you know who needs encouragement, don't wait for someone else to encourage that person, encourage that person yourself.

Encouragement isn't always giving someone a pat on the back, telling someone how good of a job they're doing, or to keep up the good work. Sometimes, it involves telling someone to stay the course, to do the right thing, to not give up, or to stick with it when things get hard. Helpful encouragement is always done in love and always done with the best interest of the person you are encouraging.

The best place to start encouraging others is in your own home. Don't wait for your spouse, sibling or child to encourage you, just keep encouraging them. More than likely, it will rub off. The same is true at school, work, church, in your neighborhood, community, etc.

Encouragement is contagious! Give it your best shot.

Doug Shrock is the pastor at Living Water Church of God. He can be reached at 541-447-3399.

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