My children are 14 and 12; however, I still remember the first memory verse they learned when they were in Threeschool! AND I still quote it on a regular basis! Not because I have a great memory, I don’t, I think I remember it most because it was their first one—they had an entire month to learn it and both of them practiced it at home with so much excitement! I have sweet memories of doing the hand motions to it with them, of my 5 year old son helping his 3 year old sister learn it, etc….

The verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and for 3 year olds, it was shortened to:

“Encourage one another and build each other up.”

What a great verse for them to learn and have as the foundation for their school years and all of the relationships they would have!

I have reminded them of this verse constantly over the years, through friend issues, teacher issues and sibling squabbles– most recently on the car ride to school this morning when they were bickering and saying mean things to each other.

To encourage another and build them up should be the basis for ALL of us to have in ALL of our relationships—always and especially now with the seemingly more divided world we are living in. I quoted it to the moms who attend MOMS ministry at the kick-off meeting in September—laying the foundation for the year that this ministry is a place to encourage each other and build each other up—who cares about all the things that divide us in our political beliefs, parenting styles or whether or not we choose to vaccinate our children—that MOMS should be a safe place for them to listen to each other and encourage each other.

Encouragement is the act of giving someone support, confidence and hope—doing so will build them up. It is letting them know they are not alone and hearing them out. It does NOT mean you have to agree with every opinion they have or action they have done, but rather to encourage them in a way that points them to the truth and to Jesus—which will ultimately build them up.

This means that the next time your child does something that is defiant or sinful—instead of acting out of your anger and frustration with them, you take a deep breath and ask yourself “HOW can I encourage them and build them up in response to this” and then maybe tell them they are better than the action they just did and help them identify how to do it differently next time.

This means that the next time you are on social media and a friend posts something that makes you angry, instead of posting an emotionally charged comment back to them, you take a deep breath and ask yourself “HOW can I encourage them and build them up in a response?’ and you then maybe reach out to them and acknowledge that you have a different feeling on this issue and would they like to meet you for coffee to have a conversation and hear each other out.

Who can you encourage & build up today?

Karen VanHaitsma

MOMS Ministry