When we love another, we communicate with words the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Some words go a long way toward nurturing and encouraging another. Some of the words and phrases that can be extremely nurturing and encouraging to another include:
I love you.
I am proud of you.
You are just right.
I am sorry. I apologize.
When we hear these words from people who really matter to us, they count. Maybe your mom or dad says, "I am very proud of you" or "well done." Maybe your wife or husband says, "I love you." Your husband or wife says, “I love you.” Your dad or mom says “I am proud of you” or “well done.” Perhaps your child says to you, “Thank you." Maybe one of your dearest friends says, "I am so sorry. I apologize for what I said." We hear these words and they soak in.
Yesterday, as I read Matthew 28:1-10 to our church, I thought all over again about the importance of the words by the angel to the women who had come to the tomb of Jesus: "He is not here; he has risen" (Matt. 28:6).
I have no idea how many times I have read these words. I have no idea how many times I have heard others quote or make reference to these words. Yet, reading this text afresh was encouraging, nurturing, and promising.
Why are such familiar words so encouraging? Perhaps, in part, this is because the resurrection of Jesus stands in contrast to the realities that you and I experience most every week. I think of situations I have been near in the past month: a young mother’s death, cancer in a young man, looking into the eyes of young children who have experienced a parent moving out of their home, a person whose existence is centered around a drug, etc. The list goes on and on with the stark reality of life in this world.
Breaking into all of this is the promise that Jesus himself is alive and giving life to all who will come to him.
Now that is hope!