Encouragement or discouragement? - Hope 103.2

Encouragement or discouragement?

By David ReayMonday 20 Feb 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Hebrews 10:24-25

24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT)

One way churches seek to encourage their members as they meet is to allow members to share positive answers to prayer. Someone gets up front and shares a wonderful answer to prayer. Someone comes back to faith; someone gets healed; a child is safely born; a job is acquired, a marriage is mended. So good to hear such good news.

Then again, there are others sitting in that church whose prayers have not been so positively and clearly answered. On the one hand, they may be encouraged that others are receiving such answers. And of course it is right and proper for us to rejoice in others’ good news rather than sulk about our lack of good news.

On the other hand, they might feel some discouragement. Why am I missing out? What is wrong with me? Do I lack faith? Is God displeased with me?

There is no ready solution to this. We dare not stop people sharing good news because we fear others might be upset. We dare not give the impression in our churches that we only want to hear good news up front. You are welcome to be open about your victories, but keep quiet about your setbacks.

If we are to be encouraging communities, we need to hear all sorts of news. Even sharing setbacks can be an encouragement: it shows we are all on a challenging journey. It allows us to openly support those who openly share their struggles. Churches are not religious glee clubs, but gatherings of those who weep and laugh and feel all sorts of things in between.

David Reay

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