Loving others 3

'Encourage one another and build one another up.' 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

A key way to love others is to encourage them. This means being uplifting with our words, acknowledging when they've done something well and speaking positivity into their lives. This doesn't mean we let ungodly behaviour go unnoticed; there's a place for discipline and constructive criticism, but it should be done with love and sensitivity. The Bible says, 'Therefore encourage one another and build each other up' (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). We can encourage people in many ways: to try something new, to step out of their comfort zones and bring new ideas; to start to use their gifts, bringing freshness and creativity; to get involved and use what God has given them to make a difference in the world.

Forgiveness is another important part of creating a loving environment. When someone hasn't been encouraging towards us, we have a choice: to allow bitterness take root or to forgive them. If we choose not to forgive, resentment can affect how we respond to that person. And if we choose to talk to others about what that person did to us, that resentment and tension can spread out to affect others. The Bible says, 'Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you' (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

Let's choose to love others with encouragement and forgiveness.

So what now? This week, give encouragement whenever you can and choose to forgive someone you need to forgive. Be deliberate in loving and blessing others - you'll find that you are blessed right back.

Soulfood: Jonah 1-4, Mark 9:38-50, Ps 75, Pro 11:23

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