Encouragement002 "I really believe in you…I really, really do," one of my spiritual heroes said to me sincerely this past week with his hand on my shoulder. It was a simple grace, but most well-timed and warming. After thinking about the blessing it was to me, I wondered when I last offered such grace to someone else. Sure, I encourage others from time to time. Yet, I need to offer more of genuinely convicted encouragement. "Convicted encouragement" is encouragment one really, really believes as opposed to the more common or generic variety.

Most of us offer common and generic encouragement to people as a way of helping people "keep their head up" or to express gratitude for someone's service. It's the kind most of us offer most frequently. Such encouragement is far better than no encouragement. It's still a blessing, but it's a thinner one.

Well-meaning people traffic in thin encouragement, but wouldn't it be something if we all trafficked in the real stuff–"convicted encouragement." The kind we really, really mean. The kind that keeps people from despairing at a key moment in their life or ministry. The kind we offer when we know the person cannot repay us or they are looking for it. The kind that nourishes life and discipleship in by simply reminding someone that God is for them by hearing it on the lips of one of His people.

Real encouragement in a difficult time is like a warm meal to famished. Someone said a word of encouragment during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success. True enough, but I've also found it to be worth a lot no matter what the times. It's no wonder that in Scripture God urges us to encourage one another. We are to encourage each other in Christ so the Discourager doesn't win the battle for the heart's joy or convince people to quit on things that really matter–marriages, churches, ministry, life.

So, let's make today, "I believe in you," day. Or, "thank you," day. Tell someone at your church, one of your kids, or a church leader that you believe in them…you really, really do–and mean it when you say it. Thank them for who they are and what they do. Help them understand they matter. As you do:

Be specific.

Mean it.

And, you'll bless them in ways untold.

Question: Describe a time when someone encouraged you in a way that made a significant difference in your life or ministry.