The Challenge to Speak Up

The Challenge to Speak Up

A few weeks ago we received a brief handwritten note from a stranger. The writer explained that she had been in a minor accident with my son. (His fault.) She was not writing to complain, however, but to compliment us on his behavior during the incident.

My first reaction after reading the note was the heartwarming mixture of gratitude and pride any mother would feel when receiving compliments on her offspring.

But that happy glow soon turned to amazement. A perfect stranger actually took the time to write a note to us. In a society of tweets and Instagram, where we grow impatient when a website takes more than two seconds to load, this lady took the time to write a note of encouragement to perfect strangers.

Of her own accord.

When she would gain nothing by it.

For the sole purpose of communicating kind words.

Wow. What a lady!

After the amazement wore off, I began to feel challenged.

Is this not the sort of thing we should all be doing? Especially as Christians? Especially as writers?

The world is full of negative messages—complaints, rants, protests, insults, verbal attacks. On the airwaves, in social media, at the playground, in the cereal aisle of the grocery store.

Most of us are only too aware of our shortcomings, and the shortcomings of our friends and family. So aware that we can sometimes miss the positive.

Sometimes we need to hear that their children have actually grown up to be the kind of men and women we had hoped they would become. Sometimes we need to hear we do have talent for our job, or that our spouse is respected by others because of their character or generosity. We all need more positive voices in our lives.

Our society may be eager to speak up against injustice, unfairness, or abuse. But how often do we speak up about the good stuff?

How often do we take the time to compliment young parents in a restaurant whose children are behaving? Or send a note to a teacher thanking them for the effort they expend in their classroom?

How many of us would dare consider sending a note to someone we’ve never met?

Maybe it’s time to be a little more intentional about spreading encouragement, praise, and gratitude. Even to complete strangers.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

About Lisa Betz

Lisa Betz writes from an empty nest perched on a wooded Pennsylvania hillside. When not volunteering at the church or library, she blogs about intentional living and writes historical mysteries.


  1. So true, Lisa! We should go out of our way to SHOW God’s kindnesses to people. I love that that woman gave you a handwritten note, too. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. What an inspiring message! Yes, we do need to be more intentional about praising each other instead of complaining. Kinds words can change the world. 🙂

  3. One of my friends commented that she is only too aware of her kid’s problems, but often needs someone else to remind her of their finer points.Sound familiar? Even when we think others already know, it can still be good to say kind things.

  4. And what might the world be like if every Christian made sure to write a kind note or perform a random act of kindness as a daily habit?

  5. Laurie Driesen says:

    I love that you stress that we should do this for perfect strangers. That’s what makes it so special. When someone reaches into your world with encouraging words, even when they really don’t have to, it’s even more meaningful.

  6. Wow, Lisa, what an awesome post! This is so encouraging and reminds us of what we should be doing on a regular basis as Christians. Thanks so much for sharing this experience.

  7. We know that as Christians we should be doing this, but making a daily point of it is tough, isn’t it? May all you lovely ladies continue to share your words of encouragement to all of us each month.

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