Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. (NLT)
We rightly figure that we ought to encourage one another. That is, to help people have the strength to face their life situations with faith and hope. We rightly figure that some people need special encouragement at special times. But we can too easily overlook some who we might mistakenly figure do not need encouragement.
We may know of people who seem consistently cheerful and given to lots of love and good works. They too need encouragement. Encouraging others is not to be confined to those in crisis or those who seem to struggle. If life is going relatively well, we need to be encouraged to keep at it.
Also, those who do a lot of encouraging of others may be in great need themselves. We can present a cheery or positive persona to those around us but may be facing great challenges ourselves. Even as we wipe away the tears of others, we may be crying on the inside.
Don’t be fooled by the masks we inevitably wear. The world is not divided between those who need or don’t need encouragement. The true divide is between those whose need is obvious and those whose need is hidden beneath a façade. Certainly there are some in need of more intense or urgent encouragement. But let’s not play that game of insisting that others’ needs are greater than our own. They may be, but that doesn’t mean we spurn encouragement.
Those great encouragers we know are also greatly in need of encouragement.