“Love each other as I have loved you.” Jn 15:12 NIV

When Jesus said, “Love each other,” He used the Greek word for “love,” which means to nurture. Think of a mother and her child: her love is constant and her greatest desire for that child is that they should thrive. You say, “But isn’t that the kind of love people should get somewhere else, like at home?” No, beneath the façade, some of the people in your life desperately need to be nurtured. And they’ll be influenced most by those who make them feel best about themselves. One leader writes: “Many people are very close to my heart because they believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They listened to me without condemnation and loved me unconditionally, even when I wasn’t very lovable. Without them, I wouldn’t have possessed the hope I needed to keep pursuing my dream.” Now, you can’t be like the little girl who came home from church and announced, “I want to be like the man who stood up in the pulpit today.” Delighted, her mom said, “You want to go into the ministry?” “No,” she replied, “I want to tell people what to do!”

Hello! Some of us want to be authority figures so we can correct people and give them our so-called “constructive criticism.” Most folks don’t need a critic, they need a cheerleader. When you nurture them they will welcome you to speak into their life—and they will listen. Goethe said, “Correction does much, but encouragement does much more.” So think encouraging words and speak words of encouragement. “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Pr 12:25 NKJV).