Tuesday’s Word: encourage

encourage (v):

  • to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope:  hearten
  • to attempt to persuade:  urge
  • to spur on:  stimulate
  • to give help or patronage to:  foster
  • to give support, confidence, or hope to

courage (n):

  • the ability to do something that frightens one:  bravery
  • strength in the face of pain or grief
  • mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

I’ve been pondering over the word encourage for the past couple weeks: what it means, how it’s done. I find it telling that the heart of the word is heart: cor (Latin), cuore (Italian), couer (French).  The truest, best encouragement comes from one whose heart is in tune with your heart, one who knows what fears you face, what challenges daunt you, what pain you bear.

One who would encourage doesn’t say, “I encourage you to go out and overcome your obstacles (or do a great work) (or persevere through enormous difficulty), and let me know when you’ve done it.”  A true encourager opens his own heart and says, “Here is the reason we have for hope.  I see in you the promise of glory.  Let us walk together, sharing our bravery and our strength.”

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