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At our youngest’s birthday party over the weekend our oldest daughters had a couple of friends that dropped by to say hi. I know these girls very well, I coached them for years. After they left my wife asked my oldest brother, who was in town as well, “Were you shocked when you found out Floyd was coaching a bunch of girls”?

“Yeah, I really was,” he said, he then continued, “But typical of Floyd, he jumped in with both feet.” That was a nice compliment for my brother to give me, it was by design. It’s nice to be encouraged isn’t it? To receive even a small compliment? I think most people would agree with that.

I was a little more cognizant of that subject of encouragement due to a post I read by April at a couple weeks ago.

As my brother and I talked a while later I recalled a specific story from our younger days. I was around 14 or 15 and Dean was about 19 or 20. We were outside working on a car, the car needed a jump start with jumper cables on hand for the task.

Every time we tried to hook up the last clamp on the positive post, sparks flew, more than normal. We checked and double checked the connections and each time the same thing; spark city.

I mentioned that the cables had to have a line crossed and reversed, my big brother gave me a serious look that meant I was on to something. We traced the clamp back and sure enough one of the lines were crossed.

It wasn’t a big deal, but my brother went out of his way to make sure everyone knew about it. I really didn’t realize how much it meant to me and what it did for my self-confidence until I was sharing it with him a few nights ago.

When you’re the youngest it seems you get a little more grief from your siblings, older siblings judge the younger ones, it’s part of life, usually justified.

Being somewhat of a smart donkey, (other name for the three letter one), OK, maybe a little more than that, it would have been easy for my family to withhold praise and encouragement that they could have justified due to my actions. They were bigger than that, not always, it wasn’t Leave It To Beaver or anything like that. Although in most ways it was much better.

My entire family looked for the good in each other and encouraged one another whenever we could.

I marvel at a world including many Christians that don’t like to encourage one another. Unfortunately, in most cases I see people who go out of their way to discourage others, at the very least avoid lifting up others due to selfish reasons.

For those who do claim the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ, know that the way the world would be able to tell who we were, as described by Christ himself was, “For the love you have for one another.”

When we fail to encourage our immediate family and our family in Christ, we fall short of the love that would include encouragement as defined by Christ himself.

The paradigm shift of this subject is that when we encourage and lift someone else up in true heart and spirit, it actually lifts the ones doing the encouraging. Isn’t that how God works?

The world tells us we have to hold others back to get ahead. The truth is the exact opposite. The more we lift up and encourage others the closer we get to God which puts us way ahead of the pack.

If my job is to kneel and my back is to be the step for others and I’m faithful, humble, and encouraging to the one called to walk up, using me as one of the steps, I’ll be blessed in ways that only those of us that know God can grasp.

In the end, how’s it gonna hurt me to help you?

The answer, of course, is… it can’t…