In the words of Plato, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
Let me add God’s word to it, be an encourager. It has been said that everyone is either in the midst of the battle or just coming out of a battle or about to enter a battle. At first glance, this is often not visible. A smile often masks deep feelings. The writer of the Proverbs put it this way: “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.” (Proverbs 14:13)
God’s directive to Moses in Deuteronomy 3 is very interesting. The children of Israel had finished 40 years in the wilderness. They were about to enter the land of “milk and honey” – the Promised Land. But God knew that the real battle was just ahead. Amorites, Hittites and all the other “ites” were waiting to steal, kill, and destroy God’s promises to His children. In verse 28, God tells Moses to “command Joshua” and “encourage him and strengthen him. For he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.” This courage was not just a pep talk. The meaning of the word is “to fasten upon, strengthen, to become stronger, fortify.” The encouragement it would take to persevere in the days ahead. God blessed Joshua.
Many Christians seem to regard regular participation in a local church as optional. But the New Testament instructs us otherwise. Hebrew 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together…let us encourage one another.” Worship is important. Sermons are wonderful. But could it be possible, that a core reason to meet together is to encourage one another? Maybe something beyond “How are you?” and “Good to see you!” as we move down the aisles.
Just like the children of Israel, we have an enemy who came to steal, kill, and destroy our walk with Christ. Too often we try to fight the battle alone. Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another, day after day.” When reminding the church at Thessalonica of the sure return of the Lord, Paul ended with this exhortation, “Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another.”
Everyone we meet may be fighting a battle. Let’s encourage them. Fortify them. Pour words of strength and courage into their hearts and spirits. And, one more thing, encourage yourself. You don’t walk alone. The Lord said, “Have I not commanded you; be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1, 9.
Our best encouragement comes from God in Matthew 2:20, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
In closing, from the heart of Charles R. Swindoll, “May God give us eyes to see through our circumstances and to hear His voice of reassurance along this journey called life. As we seek Him this day, may new insights bring fresh encouragement, new sounds, and joy.”