Encouraging What’s Best in Our Loved Ones

The apostle Paul encouraged us, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).  Paul also taught the early church to “Encourage one another to good works” (He. 10:24) and to “Edify one another” (I Tess. 5:11).  But recently I have felt convicted by the Holy Spirit that I haven’t been encouraging my loved ones the way the Bible teaches us to.  Many times I complain and discourage those who are closest to me in relation to their God-given gifts.  

For example my youngest daughter has a strong personality.  She is extraordinarily perceptive of what is happening around her and often feels that she needs to react to things I consider “none of her business”.  This past Sunday our family was at church and there was a minor incident with a man who was visiting.  I won’t go into details but the man had an accident that was embarrassing for him.  He appeared to have some sort of mental or physical disability.  My daughter alerted me to what had happened and asked if we should do something.  I felt embarrassed for the man and looked around to see if he had come with someone.  My thinking is that it would be more embarrassing for a stranger to help him in that situation.  I saw that a few members of the church leadership were nearby and that they would shortly realize what had happened.  My other two children were already calling me from outside the church wanting to head home for lunch.  In short, these were my reasonings for telling my daughter that we shouldn’t get involved.   Looking back I think my attitude was selfish and I was just wanting to avoid any inconvenience to myself.  

What’s worse though, and this is the theme of this text, is that I discouraged the positive impulse of my daughter.  And this reaction was a manifestation of my daughter’s God-given gift of leadership.  

My prayer for you and I is that the Lord give us the sensitivity to recognise our loved ones’ best qualities.  Lord, help us to encourage our spouses, our children, our brothers and sisters, etc.. to increasingly (not “diminishingly”) express their gifts.  Father teach us to do so, even when these gifts sometimes annoy us and spark critical, unsupportive attitudes.  

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