A perpetual pessimist served in our Army during wartime. Despite the fact that he wore a uniform and swore loyalty to the United States, he ended up aiding the enemy. Although he never took up arms against his countrymen, his WORDS were just as detrimental. All day long he constantly uttered dispiriting remarks such as, "There is no way we can come out of this alive!" or "We will lose this battle for sure!" His commander, sensing that he was demoralizing his unit, removed him from the front lines and restricted him to quarters. He was eventually court-martialed. He was ultimately found guilty of criminal behavior and sentenced to a year in prison.
That soldier is only one of countless examples of people whose negativity infected and discouraged others. Do you recall the story of the 10 spies that “discouraged the heart of the children of Israel” (Numbers 32:9)? Instead of encouraging their countrymen to move forward by the strength of Jehovah (as did Joshua and Caleb), these pessimists effectively turned God's people into cowards.
Unfortunately, pessimists are sometimes found in the Lord's church. Comments like "That program won’t work!”, “We’ve tried that before!” or "This church will never grow!" have discouraged countless Christians. Pessimists have stunted the growth of many churches, and caused more than a few to divide.
THANK GOD, HOWEVER, FOR ENCOURAGERS IN THE CHURCH! Like Barnabas of old (“Son of encouragement”), these Christians focus on what is right with the church and her members! Although all Christians fail at times, the encouragers focus on our strengths and potential. They constantly remark, “I thank God for you! I’m glad you are here! You make a difference to the church!”
We are living in dark days. The upcoming election is worrisome, worldliness is widespread, and riots and murder dominate the news. We all desperately need a good word; kind thoughts; perpetual reminders that we are important, needed and loved! The wise man wrote "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." (Proverbs 12:25)
Thank God for the encouragers at Milan! Keep up your great words!
Jesus, always Jesus!