The power of encouragement to the child of divorce



Have you ever thought about the power of encouragement? Most of us try to encourage children that come to our church. We do this because

  • We want to build confidence within the child.
  • We want to promote a relationship with the child so we can help them eventually foster a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • We want to stimulate them spiritually so they will learn how to develop a life of faith.
  • We want them to keep them coming back to church.

Encouragement has a lot of power for the child of divorce, particularly if the parents are still in the warring stages of the divorce process. Or perhaps the parents have moved on and both are involved in committed relationships with the possibility of a remarriage on the horizon.

What is encouragement?

Dr. Becky Bailey in her “Conscious Discipline” book says, “Encouragement is basically a dose of hope.”

If ever there were a people group in local churches that need a dose of hope on a regular basis, it would be the children of divorce.

Encouragement means building a person up or fostering their self worth. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Why encourage

Research on the human brain shows that one of the factors needed for ideal brain functioning is encouragement. Many of the kids from divorcing homes don’t get a lot of encouragement from either of their stressed parents.

If you minister to or are the parent of a child that is in trouble all the time because of their behavior, they likely are operating with a deficit of encouragement.

Mostly all they hear are discouraging words. “Why don’t you ever do what you are told? How many times do I have to tell you to do your homework, pick up your clothes, stop yelling?”

Jesus encouraged his disciples. Think about that for a minute. Why would a person need encouragement if they were in the presence of Jesus? Life still presented problems, questions and day-to-day living even for the disciples.

Help in encouraging children

Giving children a dose of hope, helping children navigate problems, questions and day-today living in two homes requires children’s church leaders, grandparents and other close to the child to learn the art of encouragement.

We don’t have to do it alone though. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us.

“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.” Acts 9:31 (NIV)

As you embark on thinking about how to encourage the child of divorce start with prayer – ask the Holy Spirit to show you how each child can be encouraged.

Be a Barnabas

When ministering to children of divorce, think about what the Bible says about Barnabas. “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”) Acts 4:36 (NIV)

  • By your actions and words of encouragement you might be the one that can erase the negative talk inside a child’s brain. “I’m no good or dad wouldn’t have left.” Or, “It’s my fault mom moved out and their getting a divorce.” And, “If my parents didn’t love me enough to stay together, does Jesus really love me enough to stick around?”
  • You might be the one that begins the tearing down the walls a child has built around them. “I’m never trusting anybody ever again.”
  • You might be the one person that sheds a glimpse of hope.
  • You might be the one person that is the safe go-to-person for a hurting child.

“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them”. Acts 16:40 (NIV)

There is power in the blood and power in encouragement!


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2 thoughts on “The power of encouragement to the child of divorce

  1. I do indeed. So many young people STILL come to me to tell me they remember the encouraging words and deeds I was blessed to share with them, when I was little more than a substitute teacher and an AIDE for 3 years after retiring from my police career. Wise, sincere adults who have appropriate authority and motivation, wield tremendous power to direct a child to success and the ability to overcome the terrible stress and deep sadness the divorce of their parents ALWAYS overwhelms them with. I was blessed to have been raised by parents who loved each other, were committed to a Godly relationship, who worked HARD at never giving up, and who succeeded in their shared goal of staying together. I learned a lot from them.

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