All of us can identify with the power of encouraging word. Someone spoke into our lives at a particular moment and their encouragement was exactly what our thirsty spirit needed to carry on with a task or to hang on in a relationship, or finish a job that we had begun.
But it also works in reverse, doesn’t it?
Many of us can identify with being discouraged about something we wanted to do, some dream we had for our lives, some achievement we hoped to attain when someone poured cold water on us and doused the flame of our zeal, sometimes—forever.
Here’s one of those stories. Shun Lee Fong, a writer, actor, filmmaker and speaker writes the following in the book The Saints & the Poets.
“My grandfather, when he was a boy, was told by one of the his school teachers that he shouldn’t sing because he didn’t have the voice for it, and so he never sang again–until just after my youngest sister was born, at which time he sang a lullaby to her . . . with a voice as beautiful as an angel’s. It only took one careless comment, and all that beauty and music inside him was stilled for most of his life.”
What a tragedy! One word from a teacher and his voice was silenced for more than two generations in his family.
Discouraging words are powerful. Too powerful.
Today’s Reading with the Pastor chapters were Matthew 15 and Psalm 20. In Matthew 15 we are told the story of another encounter that Jesus had with the Pharisees and in this one, Jesus sought to correct the burdensome and discouraging teaching of the scribes and Pharisees together. He speaks to them (vss. 1-9) and then he turns to the crowd and the disciples and encourages them with an explanation of his teaching (vss. 10-20).
Because Jesus knows the value of correct teaching and an encouraging word.
Remember that. And follow Him with all your heart.
“And may the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!”