Words of Encouragement

“They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.” Isaiah 41:6-7 KJV

I read an article last night by Max Lucado. He said “Seek out people who can encourage you.” We have enough people who will discourage us. We need to surround ourselves with people that we can trust to be an encouragement to us. Sometimes without any warning, we are attacked by people who criticize us.

Even worse than that, there are times when we are attacked with criticism by people who we thought were our friends. It is very important to build an encouragement network. It only takes one person to pull you down and make you doubt that Jesus loves you.

A pastor friend of mine has said many times in his sermons “If you will concentrate on keeping your own heart right with God, you won’t have time to criticize other people.” How true this statement is because all of us at times say things that hurt other people. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we have hurt them.

One of the sneaky ways that satan attacks us is through people who claim to love Jesus and yet these people are always looking for something with which they can criticize other people. One of the things that satan tries to do is to turn brothers and sisters against one another. Have you ever noticed that it delights satan when he is successful in causing problems and disharmony between brothers and sisters in Christ?

Another way that satan causes discouragement is when people say that the pastor gave the wrong Scripture reference or that the pastor pronounced a word wrong. Instead of being an encouragement to our pastors, to our missionaries, to our evangelists and to others who have surrendered their lives in full time service to Jesus, we criticize them.

Joyce Landorf, a well know speaker and author, says on one of her teaching tapes “Men and women are leaving the ministries in droves because we haven’t encouraged them. We have impressed them with our spirituality and just knocked a hole in their relationship with God and with others.” There are times when people act in an arrogant manner by saying that they know everything about the Bible. We can read the Bible from cover to cover every day and still not know everything.

The time is short as our Saviour may return any minute and it is urgent that we spread the love of Jesus to everyone we meet. We can’t do that if people are putting us down, discouraging us and acting like they are better than we are and that they know everything. There was only one perfect person who ever lived or ever will live and His name is Jesus.

There is no one living who is perfect. A trusted and well known Christian leader once said “There are some people who have to put other people down to feel good about themselves.” All of us fail Jesus every day in some way. There is always another telephone call we could have made, another email we could have sent or another letter we could have sent by regular mail.

Are you saying words of encouragement to your family, to your friends and to your loved ones or are you deliberately trying to find something that you can criticize them about? If you are trying to find something you can criticize, then you are not only discouraging people rather than encouraging them, you are also hurting Jesus. May God forgive us for acting at times like we think we are smarter and better than someone else. Again, the only perfect person is Jesus!

Joanne Lowe

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