Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Life Off Line: What's real encouragement?

In adding life online we have new ways of encouraging each other. By clicking "Like" or adding a comment we send a burst of blessing to those we know well or those we know a little and want to reach out to. But has the "Like" button deceived us into thinking that we're "doing" real encouragement?

At the beginning of this week, I shared on Do Not Depart about the danger of ignoring what we see in the mirror, about walking away from what stares back at us from the reflection of God's word. It tells us to be active and pure in how we apply it, but today it's easy to fall into the trap of giving encouragement that's barely an inch deep.

If we think we're people of faith and don't act on what we're taught, our faith is worthless. Our exposure to needs requires a response. True faith acts on the needs of others. The example James offers relates to orphans and widows. You can read all of James 1:21-27 here. Is my faith worthless or true?  With the explosion of information, we can't realistically respond to every single need we're exposed to. We wouldn't have time to get dressed! But if faith is real, it should produce real encouragement. In today's world that may look like:

  • Clicking the "like" button.
  • Commenting about a status. 
  • Sending an email or a text. 
  • Taking a meal to someone who posted that their family is ill.
  • Praying about a need shared on a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or church.
  • Writing a card to someone who has a Caring Bridge site. 

The worlds of online and off line encouragement are colliding to give us a wider range of options for real encouragement. Let's not just be hearers, let's be doers, encouraging one another for real. Next time we ask "How are you?" or respond "Praying for you," let's pause to consider if our faith and our encouragement are real.

Today's Life Off Line Challenge:
- Ask God to show you a need online today; choose a way to respond with real encouragement.
- Take a need you're aware of, & encourage someone off line ... a meal, card, phone call, visit?
How have you been most encouraged online? 
How are you most encouraged off line? 

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Whitney said...

I have just started my own blog and it was encouraging that someone I don't even know "liked" it.  I guess it boosts the ego a bit.  I do appreciate the real face to face comments, though.  It is good to know when you have touched someone.  Keep it up on your end, Julie. Hope your voice is doing well.  You spoke at my church before Christmas -- we were blessed to have you and your voice that day!