Believe in yourself! God does…
In seminary, I had to take Biblical Hebrew. Not the fun Hebrew that people get as Tattoos that say “strength” or “soup” but the old school Hebrew that sounded a bit like a cross between a shrieking weasel and a yeti monster sneezing into a microphone. This language has similarities to what people speak in Israel today, but not many; as a result it was one of the hardest classes I ever had to endure.
In that class we had tests. Tests that were sentences in Hebrew that we had to translate. Right before each of these “adventures in torture” our professor would give us one last pep talk before throwing us to the wolves. His pep talk always consisted of the words “I have confidence in your abilities.” Sometimes, he was the only one who had confidence in my abilities!
However, I survived. I didn’t get anywhere near an A, but I passed. Sometimes I think I only got out alive was because someone else had confidence in me when I didn’t have confidence in myself. For some reason, the idea that someone else has confidence in me was a catalyst to study more and try harder and not give up.
Which brings us forward to today. Sometimes we see our friends or family struggling with things; maybe debt, or unemployment, or tests or maybe life in general has just dealt them a difficult hand. When we see them going through this, and it might be impossible for us to help, and we feel helpless to bring any sort of relief to those we love and care about. In those moments, sometimes the best thing we can say is “I have confidence in your abilities”
When we look at those we care about and tell them we know they are capable it serves as a reminder that they are not alone and that there are people out there who believe in them. This can be transformative. In the same Old Testament that I had to translate, there is an event that happens in the life of Moses. Moses was an 80 year old shepherd and God shows up and tells Moses he will free the entire Israelite population from the slavery in Egypt. Moses was filled with doubt and questions. God gives Moses everything he needs from friends and powers and when Moses was still filled with doubt God says to Moses “I have confidence in your abilities.” So Moses went, filled with his own doubts and with the confidence of God. As a result the whole of Israel was freed and led out of Egypt.
The ability to look at a person and with sincerity declare that we have confidence in their abilities is something that can transform a person’s life. It can push them to try harder and take that one more step to reach their goal.
So then, may you not just believe that your friends can accomplish anything, may you also tell them that you have confidence in their abilities.
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By Pastor B.T. Gilligan for Pennsylvania Bridges