Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Several years ago, migratory birds in the U.S. were tagged on the foot by the Department of the Interior with metal strips reading, “Wash. Biol. Surv.” for Washington Biological Survey. The code was changed, so the story goes, after a farmer from rural Arkansas wrote to the department,
I shot one of your crows last week and my wife followed the cooking instructions you attached. She washed it, boiled it, and served it. It was the worst thing we ever ate. Please consider changing your instructions. Thank you.
It’s funny how, very often, people can take something one way that was supposed to mean something completely different. The words, “Can I help you?” for example, may be completely well-intentioned when said. But when they’re heard, they might be interpreted as, “You need help so you don’t mess this up!”
Preferring others isn’t just in what you say; it’s in how you say it. Your tone and mannerisms are much more powerful when it comes to building others up or tearing them down. So make sure you build others up in what you say as well as how you say it. Get rid of sarcasm and cynicism in your voice. When you do, you’ll find others will be much more encouraging to you as well!
Pray and ask God to help you love others authentically and rid yourself of sarcasm and cynicism.
Questions for Thought
How does it make you feel when people use words that on the surface build you up, but their tone or mannerisms tear you down?
Who is one person in your life today with whom you can be more authentic in your relationship?