This month I’m sharing another extra from the book I’m writing on healthy relationship habits based on the ‘One-Anothers’ from scripture. Remember, it’s your support and prayers that give me time and space to write this.

I hope this month extract – which looks at the habit of encouraging one another- will remind us all of the power of the words we speak. Make a choice to speak life over people, and watch them flourish.


Extracts from Chapter on ‘encouraging one another’

I’ve always believed that ultimately, we chose whether life experiences make us bitter or better! We can’t decide what gets thrown at us, but we can decide how we respond to it.

Leadership guru John C Maxwell defines responsibility as ‘the ability to choose your response.’ Let’s face it – that’s very, very difficult at times – but it’s also very, very important.

I can remember years back when I received a deluge of ‘hate mail’ around the name change from Crusaders to Urban Saints. I was so tempted to respond with equal ferocity.

The problem is when you fight fire with fire all you get is a lot of fire – wild-fire – and hurtful, hostile, and harsh words can unleash hell in our relationships. Jesus’ step-brother James put is this way…

“It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech, we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” 

Words are powerful and potent. Words shape worlds and rotten words ruin relationships. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, said one ancient writer.

A number of years ago, a professor called Dr Elizabeth Hurlock conducted an experiment to see what would happen to the maths performance of 10 and 11-year-old children based on different types of feedback on their work. She wanted to find out if it was more effective to praise, criticize or ignore the pupils. So, every day the pupils were given a test – and every day they were given feedback on their test – one group was praised, one group was criticized and one group was ignored.  By the end of the week, the group who were praised had improved their maths performance by 71%. The group who had been constantly criticized had only improved their performance by 19% and the group who were ignored had only improved their performance by 5%.

Don’t miss this. Praise is powerful because it boosts performance. More importantly, it builds self-worth.

As American philosophy and psychologist, William James, once said, ‘the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.’ This shouldn’t be a surprise to us.

Think about it. When you buy a house, you’re hoping that the price of your house will appreciate over time – meaning that the house will increase in value. The last thing you want is for the house to depreciate and have it’s valued reduced.

People are more important than houses, and so when we show appreciation to people then guess what happens? Their sense of value and worth increases.

And when we know we’ve helped others ‘feel good’ – then guess what – we ‘feel good’!

Let’s make a daily choice to build people up, and not blow them up.

Let’s make a daily choice to speak life – because when people thrive, relationships thrive.