Skip to content

Be An Encourager

June 4, 2018

Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

Original sin began with Adam and Eve: “And he [God] said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” Genesis 3: 11-13.[1] Eve was tempted and involved Adam in her sin.   Adam then blamed Eve who blamed the serpent. Their sin was compounded when they failed to take responsibility for their misdeeds, and pointed the finger at each other. As is often the case, the cover-up was worse than admitting the truth and taking responsibility.

In an article posted on Psychology Today, the author describes the blame game as “One of the most destructive human pastimes . . . It has been responsible for mass casualties of war, regrettable acts of road rage, and on a broad interpersonal level (social, familial, and work-related), a considerable amount of human frustration and unhappiness.”[2]

We can break this destructive cycle by taking responsibility for our mistakes, and by encouraging others who have made mistakes to move forward. Alexander Pope said “To err is human, to forgive divine.” [3] Everyone makes mistakes. God forgives our transgressions. When we forgive we are acting according to God’s will.

One wonders what would have happened if Adam and Eve had taken responsibility for disobeying God, instead of playing the blame game.  It is not enough to say “the devil made me do it.” Adam and Eve needed to take responsibility for their actions.  But what if Adam had gone even further and encouraged Eve to confess her mistake to God instead of compounding the error? What if he had been an encourager instead of a co-conspirator/enabler?

Jesus encourages us to help one another, and to encourage each other—to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ as our own flesh and blood: “Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother’” (Mark 3: 34-34). We are all human, and we all make mistakes. In a family where the members love and support each other, they admit their mistakes to each other, are forgiven, and are encouraged to move on. That is how we should interact with our brothers and sisters in Christ and with others. Be an encourager.

The psalmist notes that God is forgiving, and erases the record of our sins when we approach him humbly and ask for forgiveness: “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope ” (Psalm 130: 3-5). God encourages us to move on from our mistakes and to have hope in our future as we continue our walk through life with him.

Paul encourages the members of the church at Corinth in his second letter to them: ”Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4: 16). Paul knew first-hand that we continue to sin and are constantly in need of God’s forgiveness: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience? Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise.  So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it become obvious that God’s command is necessary” (Romans 7: 15, The Message).

Stop playing the blame game. Stop blaming others for all of your woes. Take responsibility for your own shortcomings, forgive others, and ask God to forgive you as you have forgiven others. But go even further–be an encourager. Encourage your sisters and brothers in Christ. Encourage those who are seeking to fill the God-shaped hole in their hearts. Encourage those who have fallen. Encourage those who have strayed from the path. Encourage them to return to God—the source of life itself. Encourage them to go to the Lord with their anxieties, their fears, their troubles, their failures, their needs, and their joys.

Stand with the discouraged, the anxious, the grieving, and others who have lost hope. Share their burdens. Be an encourager.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for next Sunday are Psalm 130, Genesis 3: 8-15; 2 Corinthians 4: 13-5:1; Mark 3: 20-35.

[2] Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D, “Stop Playing the Blame Game,” Psychology Today, July 29, 2012.

[3] Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: