When I slow down and listen and observe and take every preconceived notion and thought out of my mind and just see people... how can I not see the beauty that is within? How can I not see the strength and resilience that shines? How can I not see that we're all just getting by?
A funny thing happened to me I started to do this. When I encouraged people for their strength, it spurred me on to be stronger. When I encouraged people for their positive attitude, it made me see just how ugly negativity is. When I saw that everyone struggled, I gave more grace for myself and for them. The more I encouraged others, the more encouraged I was.
We think we have to tell people what to do or what they're doing wrong or what they did wrong. While there are, of course times when we need to speak truth in love... IN LOVE.. and if we can't honestly speak it in love then we shouldn't speak it at all. I'm learning that every conversation doesn't need to be peppered with my opinion. At times, whether in agreement or in disagreement, all people need to hear is encouragement, and maybe... just maybe... if your opinion is right, the Lord will lead them to that on their own. It's about using discernment. It's about cultivating a love for our God so we can really learn to love people.
So I challenge you. Take a day to build one another up. Encourage your husband. Encourage that person at the gym who runs faster than you. Tell your kiddos just why they're awesome. Have a person and situation that you're just on the fence about? Take a step back and REALLY look at the situation and find something to encourage them with. Take yourself out of the equation and focus on others. You'll be amazed at what you see.