September 18 Encouraging Others

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 1:6–11

Key verse: Isaiah 40:1

“Comfort, yes, comfort

My people!” Says your God.

When we see a friend hurting or going through a difficult time, one of our first urges is to think of ways to help fix his situation. It’s a natural response. If something’s wrong, then there must be a solution. We’re often surprised when the person isn’t very open to our suggestions and seems to pull away from us.

Think about how you feel when you are down. Which would you rather experience—a warm hug and an expression of love or a discussion of solution alternatives? There is a time for both, but most people prefer a boost of encouragement. Sometimes a friend will come to you specifically for practical tips on how to work through a set of circumstances. If such is the case, don’t turn down the request.

However, most of the time your friend will simply need your love and support. Often, God will bring someone into your life who can benefit from specific comfort that you have to offer. For example, if you have lost a loved one, you are better able to talk to someone experiencing deep grief.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3–4). When you hurt, look for ways to share God’s encouragement with others without trying to correct.

I praise You for Your comfort, Father. I receive it. Now help me share that encouragement with others in need.[1]

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 273). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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