What is the all-time, best-selling, world-changing, heart-warming, courage-inspiring, uplifting, life-changing, enduring, up-lifting, hope-charging, positive, encouraging statement ever written?

There are lots of contenders. One of my favorites is:

I Love You!

This one is used by Moms, Dads, friends, children, grandparents and greeting card companies around the world daily. It is at once accepting and affirming. Surely this is a winner.

Of course, it’s also broken a lot of hearts, caused more depression, wrecked friendships and marriages and been used to manipulate people more than possibly any other phrase. When compounded into the phrase,”I love you, BUT . . .” it turns into a real zinger. It could turn into anything.

  • But you didn’t take out the garbage.
  • But I hate to ruin a good friendship.
  • But I can’t live with you.
  • But I’m moving to Denver.
  • But it’s your dog or me!

It’s the same reason the phrase,”I will always love you,” sounds strangely like goodbye. It’s the danger and commitment in that phrase that makes it so ominous.

Maybe we should try something more generic and safer.

You Can Do It!

Good, but it’s not exactly poetry. So common it lacks any meaning.

Walk it off!

This is a favorite of coaches everywhere . . . Yea, I hate it too. It’s a clever way of calling someone a sniveling baby without actually using the words in public. But it does not rule out the possibility either.

Okay, there are some better coaches:

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

Two Bits! Four bits! Hey! Six bits, a dollar! . . .

Surely a squad of cheerleaders shouting your name in a pheromone-charged frenzy is a winner, right? I wouldn’t know. But I’m told this kind of thing turns quickly into boos. Ask a Bears fan.

 The Greats

How about the great speakers and motivators of all time?

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” – John F. Kennedy

All good. There are so many wonderful examples here, we could go on for days. You can add your favorites in the comments below.

But my choice? Here it is:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Think about it. The God who created the universe loves you and gave his Son for you so that you could have the reward of living forever with all of your shortcomings forgiven.

That’s powerful stuff. I don’t know how you can get more encouraging than that.


Photo by Luigi Crespo Photography via Flickr