Encouraging others is one of the most rewarding things we can do. It doesn’t require any special skills or money, and it only takes a moment to make a difference. Anyone, anywhere, at any given time can encourage someone else. In fact, my pastor, Craig Groeschel, says it this way: “Why rob someone of the blessing of a word of encouragement?”
Encouragement can come in many different forms. It’s the halftime speech from a coach who rallies the team for an epic comeback win. It’s having a rough day and seeing someone smile at you. It’s the phone call or surprise text from a friend just to say hello and check on how you’re doing.
When we encourage someone, it doesn’t have to be anything big or elaborate. In fact, sometimes the smallest act of encouragement can leave the biggest impact. It’s so easy to let the voice inside say it won’t matter. But everything matters. In fact, your words of encouragement might be the very motivation someone else needs to do what God’s calling them to do. Just look at what the writer of Hebrews says about that:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV
Encouragement can spur people to love others and do good. And don’t we all need a little more good in the world? Just imagine: If small things make such a big difference, what would happen if we all took a small action to encourage someone every day? What kind of impact would that make?
Wondering how you can make a difference and start encouraging someone daily? Here are five things you can do today to encourage someone. You can even remember it by using the acronym “Hello.”
1. Help. Who could you help right now?
Sometimes the best form of encouragement can be a kind act to help someone else. You could put away your neighbor’s trash cans, hold the door for someone, volunteer at church, give someone directions, help a person find what they need at the store, pay for the person’s meal in line behind you, or check with the community or a Local Mission Partner to help with basic needs. You can also pray for someone else.
We all need a little more love and kindness. So don’t wait for it from someone else. Give it to someone else. And by doing so, you’re not only loving others—you’re also showing love to God.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10 NIV
2. Encourage. How can you encourage someone today?
You could send a positive quote to a friend, or share an article of hope, like this one or a sermon like this one. Maybe you can give someone a call or send a thank you note to someone who’s made a difference in your life. Tell someone they look nice. When someone does a good job, let them know right then. If you think something nice, say it.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 NIV
3. Listen. Spend more time listening to others.
When you’re in a conversation, practice asking lots of questions. It may seem weird at first, but people love talking about themselves. You may even find it enjoyable to learn something new. Let your kids tell you about their day. Ask your grandparents to tell you what it was like when they were your age. Take a few extra moments to strike up a small conversation with the cashier during checkout, even learning their name.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry … James 1:19 NIV
4. Love. In what ways could you show love to someone?
Love is a verb. Everything mentioned in the steps above takes action. The feeling of love is a byproduct of taking action. Say hello to someone you don’t know. Give someone a hug. Tell someone you love them. Make a phone call or send an encouraging text just because. Meet someone for lunch. Surprise somebody by doing their task or chore. Invite someone to church. Leave a thank you note for the janitor at your office or school. Whatever you do, decide to make someone feel loved today by taking action and living it out.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 NIV
5. Others-focused. Practice thinking about others first.
Spend a few minutes thinking about others and what makes them happy. Let someone else pick the movie. Play the game they choose. Eat at their favorite restaurant. Let someone else go first in traffic. Ask the question: How would this decision affect other people involved? Take the shift nobody wants for a weekend. Thinking of others is a great way to start building a habit of encouraging someone else.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
These are five simple ways you can encourage someone today, but brainstorm some of your own ideas. Then, do it! We all need a little more love and kindness, so let’s go spread it today. Who will you encourage?