‘I came so close to the edge.’ Psalm 73:2 TLB
If you’d met Asaph, who wrote some of the psalms, you’d probably have thought he hadn’t a care in the world. But you’d have been wrong: ‘I came so close to the edge of the cliff! My feet were slipping and I was almost gone.’ Then at the end of the psalm he does a 180, and writes, ‘My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever.’ (Psalm 73:26 NLT) Despite his problems, he chose to speak words of courage. When you have an opportunity to encourage someone, do it. You never know what a person is going through―that’s true whether they live in a mansion or a mud hut.
Here’s an important principle to keep in mind: people tend to become what the most important people in their lives think of them! So, think the best, believe the best, and express the best towards them. You say, ‘But they need to stop making the same stupid mistakes!’ Change happens by centimeters, not kilometers. Even when it seems simple, it’s rarely easy. The only way we can break old habits is to form new ones, and that takes time and practice―lots of it. You can’t tell people something once and expect them to get it; they need to hear it over and over before they can make the adjustment. And how you tell them can determine whether they freeze in fear or soar above the obstacles. Be persistent. Never give up trying to help them improve. Acknowledge every step of progress they make. The way to get lasting results is through patience, love and encouragement.