How to Encourage Others Without Even Trying

I really appreciated Elizabeth’s insight on last week’s post, Three Epic Reasons to Encourage Others. I asked,

“Who do you know who could use a good dose of encouragement right about now?”

And she responded,

“There isn’t anyone who doesn’t need to be encouraged!”

True that! And here’s the thing: it doesn’t take much to become a continual encourager.

I like how J.R. Miller says it,

“[Jesus’] inquiry concerning every person was, ‘Can I do anything for you? Can I share your burden? Can I relieve you of your sufferings?'”

Now we have the privilege of being Jesus’ ambassadors in our neighborhoods, of housing the Spirit of Christ within us and allowing Him to love through us. That said, here are four simple (but meaningful!) ways to encourage others:

1. When you think a kind thought about someone in your head, put words to it.

Say it out loud. To them! (And others, too, if you want.)

My Story: Last night as an older woman was leaving our small group, I told her, “You look vibrant. I didn’t know you when you were younger, but I think you must be one of those women who gets more beautiful with age.”

“You just gave me such a gift,” she said as she kissed my cheek. “Today was really hard.”

Your Challenge: Go ahead. You can do it! Say something nice to someone else. Who knows—they may have had a hard day too.

2. When you hear someone say something nice about someone who’s not in the room, pass the encouragement on.

My Story: Last week a girl told me that one of her relatives hates her. But after spending time with this relative, I specifically heard her say she loved this girl.

I was then able to tell the girl that even though her relative might not express their love well, that relative does love her.

Your Challenge: Listen. Do you hear anyone saying something nice about someone else? Instead of feeling envious, why not share this “good gossip” with that person?

3. Show genuine interest in others.

Yes, even people you don’t know. Who says you have to stare at your phone and pretend they’re not standing right next to you?

My Story: The other day as I was walking out of a retirement home, I stopped to talk to an older woman who was out pruning bushes. She proceeded to show me her different bushes, and we guessed at their names. “A porcupine bush, maybe? That’s what it looks like to me!”

I don’t know if my conversation with her brightened her day or not. It doesn’t really matter that I know. She has great worth as an image bearer of God, and I had the privilege of “seeing” and interacting with her briefly.

Your Challenge: The next time you’re passing a stranger, look them in the eye, and say “hi”! Ask them a question about what they’re doing. Show a little interest. C’mon, you can do it.

4. Say thanks.

Make it a habit to thank the lady filling the paper towels in the bathroom. Thank your server, manager, and/or cook as you’re leaving a restaurant. Don’t take everything for granted. If it’s nice, it’s because someone made it nice it for you.

My Story: A couple weeks ago, without even thinking about it, I glanced up from my table in the grocery store deli and said, “Thank you for cleaning, Jim.” (He was walking by my table pushing one of those big, yellow cleaning carts.)

The next thing I knew, he was standing over me, grinning his toothless smile, and telling me that in his fifteen years cleaning at this store, no one had ever thanked him before.

Wow.

Your Challenge: Say thank you to someone for something you’ve never even thought to be thankful for.

What did I miss? Surely those aren’t the only ways to encourage others. Let me hear your stories and ideas. Then check back next week for how to write an encouraging letter.

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • Tabias Dollan

    I loved this it inspired me to be a good person through Christ thank you!

    • are you really inspired cause i know “christians” say that just to make them look like they know all that about God when really all the do is sit on their bums and watch the world crumble

      • Tabias Dollan

        Yes in fact I’m inspired. I’m not trying to get attention by making people think that I’m holy. This post is about encouraging others please lets both encourage and not discouraging.

        • ok so im going to encourage you to stop posting non sense.. “I’m holy”? honey your not holy im not no one is except God even the writter isnt holy

          • Tabias Dollan

            I never said that I was holy or implying that I was perfect as God. Also, I do agree that no one is holy or perfect but when we get to Heaven, we all will have perfect bodies and a perfect mindset.

          • NO really I didn’t know *sarcasm*

          • Tabias Dollan

            If you are mad at me at something I said than I’m sorry. I just wanted to inform you incase you didn’t know.

          • YOU’RE PREGNANT ??????!!!!!!!!!! Whose holy now

          • Tabias Dollan

            None of us are holy really. And what? Where did you get that I’m pregnant? I’m a grown man.

          • You dingus! You just posted a deep confession that you had a little too much fun with your college “friend’ which lead to the future baby.

          • Tabias Dollan

            Well I believe that my personal life is meant to be private. Even if its true or not, its simply not possible because again… im a grown man and cannot simply be pregnant. I don’t get why you like to bicker with people and their private life. I don’t go digging through your profile. I love God and he loves all of us. Were all saved by his grace!

          • You commented where everyone can see saying that you think your prego explain that. Yes I know that we can be saved by grace.

          • Tabias Dollan

            Okay… can you please explain what ‘prego’ means? I don’t understand this profane and inappropriate language means. Stay positive!

          • First of all you didn’t explain what the baby issue is and second of all prego is a short term to me for pregnant. Your welcome.

          • Tabias Dollan

            It wasn’t me at all. How can I BE PREGNANT? Your statement has dozens of fallacies that needs to be fixed with. I don’t need to tell you the baby issue.

          • So you do have a baby issue.

          • Tabias Dollan

            It’s not my fault my mother got pregnant.

          • So your mother is in college and went on your profile and confessed that she made a mistake about getting prego how old is she. I’m so sorry I didn’t know your mother was a slut.

          • Tabias Dollan

            How dare you insult my mother! She is a women of God. She is going through some problems in life right now and I don’t really appreciate you tearing her down. She also reads the comments on here and she is suffering with depression. This post is about encouragement. And for you info. (information if you didn’t know) she is going to her second degree and she is older than me.

          • NO I thought she was younger *sarcasm*. Sure woman of God okay. Woman of God who gets pregnant out of marriage. You didn’t think that one through Mama Tobias.

          • Tabias Dollan

            Why are you even here. On this blog hurting others please I want to get along not bicker over my life about situations that are out of my control. Take a look at your for once.

          • My life’s good a husband and a kid (that I had in marriage). And by the way don’t you mean take a look at your life instead of take a look at your for once. My what?!!!

          • Tabias Dollan

            Your life. Just stop picking fights with people this is bologna.

          • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

            Yeah bolocknask

          • I don’t know about you but I think my life is going smoother than yours. Your a grown man with a mother having a baby. Wow sad.

          • Tabias Dollan

            My mother wasn’t thinking she was under the influence.

          • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

            Drugs or even alcohol really

          • Then explain why she started kissing him in the comments and then woke up realizing she lost her virginity. How did she have you if she lost her virginity. Is your name really Tabias or are you doing this just to make people think your someone eles.

          • oooooooooh burn

          • -____- what?

          • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

            Oh giddy gracious. Her 2nd time

          • there actually doesn’t ‘t need to have blood come when you loose it. I don’t I can explain this on this christian website.

          • Tabias Dollan

            Let’s see… she had me and my father left when I was born. She hadn’t touched a man since. But now she went to collage and that happened. She was implying to her 2nd innocence of the blood.

          • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

            Dont worry sammy can eat dirt

          • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

            Sammmyyyyyy

  • Gorgia

    This helped alot alot thank you!

  • sammy sweats dirt and.smells a

    Sammy is being mean

  • Last week’s post was inspiring to be more encouraging & your post this week is just as inspiring. Thank you these practical ways to encourage others.

  • Kira

    Thanks for these suggestions Paula! I’ve recently read devos on being an encourager and I want to be one! Naturally a pessimistic person, this will take some conscious effort but hopefully I’ll remember these suggestions the next time I encounter other human beings. 😉 Cheers!

  • Sarah Stead

    Very practical and biblical too, putting others before ourselves. I think a very simple and practical way is to smile at people too, to express that you have the joy of the Lord and to affirm that you care for them. Another way that is a HUGE encouragement is to ask others how you can be praying for them, and then actually pray for them, every time it enters your mind. Then follow up with that person by text or conversation, and tell them that you prayed for them. Prayer is the greatest way we can serve people.

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I love how you gave specific examples 🙂 Sometimes it’s so easy to be thankful that someone did something/said something but not actually tell them. I’m always trying to make sure I don’t let things slide by without expressing gratitude. Another thing I find that helps the most is praying and asking God to give you a grateful heart and to help you to see all the things you have right in front of you. These are some great ideas for encouraging! Can’t wait for the next post………

  • disqus_OA1PzZlxx7

    Great post!!

  • Kate

    Hey, Paula! My name is Kaitlin, but most of my friends call me Kate. The 4th way, thanking people, reminded me of how I sometimes thanked the lunch lady at school, or telling her to have a good day. It would bring a smile to her face. Come on! Let’s follow these examples, girls!

  • estee

    I always thought of wanting to say hi to strangers..or thank a cleaner/ teacher but shyness/fear always gets the better part of me. I know bible verses about God saying not to be fearful but I still am. what can I do about it?

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      I love your desire to greet others, estee. You might find these insights from Nancy Leigh DeMoss helpful:

      “If you hear someone dominating a conversation, it’s pretty easy to say, “They’re arrogant.” But do you know that excessive shyness can also be an evidence of pride?

      Most people assume I’m an outgoing person. But the truth is, when I get into a crowd
      of people I don’t know, it’s hard for me to start conversations. But when my fear or self-consciousness keeps me from reaching out to other people, I’m being self-centered, proud.

      Starting a conversation and showing interest in others can be an expression of genuine
      love. So whether we are an introvert or an extrovert, we can both have trouble
      with being proud in our own way. But when we’re filled with God’s power and
      motivated by love, we’ll be able to reach out to others in a way that makes
      them feel appreciated.”

      It’s also helpful to have several questions already in your mind that will help to
      being a conversation. Paula posted two very helpful blogs on “question asking” on our True Woman Blog. You can check them out here:

      http://www.truewoman.com/?id=747
      http://www.truewoman.com/?id=748

      Praying you’ll grow in confidence and boldness as you learn how much Jesus loves you, friend!