To Encourage And To Be Encouraged
Kwong Wai Cheng
Why does God put so many verses in the Bible that urge us to encourage one another? Why is it so important to give support, confidence, or hope to someone? Here are the testimonies of three ladies: Jessica, Dee and Ling, who have taught me about the importance of giving and receiving encouragements.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… (Romans 15:4-5)
Jessica believes that encouragement is important because it is important to God. God himself has set us an example by encouraging us FIRST through the Bible, before He calls us to encourage others. This conviction was born (incredibly) after a lot of endurance through painful losses of both of her parents and her miscarriage, as well as many spiritual battles against thoughts of giving up and giving in to despair.
While her life may not be smooth-sailing today, Jessica is able to see the hands of God at work, always encouraging her to grow in her faith in God. She chooses to encourage others because she truly cares about the person’s faith. The way encouragements from Christians have helped her stay faithful through her struggles, Jessica tirelessly encourages others, giving of her time and energy, just so that they too can stay faithful to God.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasions, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
To Dee, encouraging words can give grace to those who hear them. Encouragements have the same spiritual healing and enabling power like God’s grace. It is therefore equally important to RECEIVE encouragements so that we can be healed and strengthened to move on with life.
When Dee’s mother passed away recently, many relatives, friends and Christians helped, supported and encouraged her throughout the funeral wake despite the coronavirus situation (Dorscon Orange). Even the grannies from the Golden Ministry came and presented a song for her mother at the funeral service. While the flood of attention made Dee feel “paiseh” (embarrassed) initially, it also greatly encouraged and comforted her. Most importantly, I quote Dee: “I experienced God’s love through the outpour of love by the Christians and my faith is strengthened.”
Ling believes encouragements show us that we are not alone. Ling personally demonstrates the power of encouragements by practicing “resource gossiping”. Instead of saying negative and hurtful things behind someone’s back, the concept of “resource gossiping” is to intentionally remember and take time to say POSITIVE things about others behind their backs.
We can even take it a step further, and go back to the person and say, “do you know, I was just saying this positive thing about you?” or “I heard so and so saying this nice thing about you”. When we have such a culture of encouragement and appreciation in our community, we help to lift one another’s spirits, restore hope in humanity, and strengthen our faith in God.
When I look at these three ladies: all mothers of two, juggling family, ministry and work, and still being joyful, encouraging and giving to others, I am inspired and encouraged by their example.
To all our brothers and sisters giving your hearts out there, though you are not mentioned by name here (but I hope to share your story someday), do know that whatever you do, God has used it to encourage others and lift their faith. And for that, we thank you.
Kwong Wai Cheng
Wai Cheng is fascinated with words, especially the Word. Her life has always been revolving around words/Word, in one way or another. And she hopes to always hold fast to the Word, to draw strength and gain wisdom, to do the right things in God's sight.