October 2, 2019·Carmen Quevedo
Do you ever feel like you are the bearer of bad news, and you just don’t want to be? Sure, you are put in a place of authority as a parent, supervisor, teacher, civil servant, and that requires you to bring correction, sometimes over and over again. But what happens when we begin with a word of encouragement? Paul did this with Philemon:
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all His holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. (Philemon 4-7)
Paul had a pretty tough conversation to have with his friend, Philemon. He was asking Philemon to, contrary to culture, see his slave as an equal before God, give him permission to stay with Paul, and let him function as a minister in training. He asked Philemon to forgive the slave of wrong doing, even offering to take the blame for what Onesimus had done. Tough conversation.
But I love that Paul understood the power of a word of encouragement. He led this hard conversation with seeing the good in Philemon. He wasn’t buttering him up; he was earning credibility with lifegiving words of truth. So many times, we can get bogged down by the things we have to do, corrections we have to make, that we forget the value of “catching someone doing something right.” I know that every time I encourage my kids by acknowledging their wins, it makes it easier for them to hear and receive correction. But it’s oh so easy to forget that!
Today, I had a colleague do what Paul did. He encouraged me. He acknowledged something I did that was right. And I gotta tell you, it blessed my socks off. And, because of that, my ears will better hear his heart when he has to share something with me that will help form me into more of the leader I’m called to be. I want to do that for others. Will you join me in my very simple prayer today? “Lord, make me an encourager first.”
Pastor Carmen Quevedo