Encouragement and Discouragement – A Word from Our Rector
There is a great impoverishment of encouragement in our culture. We are afraid to give encouragement — afraid that it will turn out badly. So in our fear, we withhold it from one another. We’re afraid we’ll embarrass the other or ourselves. We’re even discouraged by others to lavish encouragement on one other, lest it go to their heads.
So we withhold encouragement from one another — and in the absence of encouragement, all that is left is its opposite: discouragement. And our culture’s great impoverishment of encouragement is directly related to our culture’s over abundance of discouragement, which is a major reason why we have so few leaders. Discouraged leaders cannot continue. Thus our culture is experiencing an asphyxiation of leadership, along with our institutions.
The solution to this great impoverishment of encouragement is to lavish encouragement on one another! Never fear it will go to someone’s head — there’s enough disaster and failure in anyone’s life to cure that!!
Never fear encouragement will embarrass the other (or yourself). People are starving for encouragement! People get so little encouragement that they’re out of practice. Because they’re out of practice, they don’t know how to receive it, so yes it’s embarrassing. But the solution to that is practice. More encouragement rather than less!
One of my favorite Biblical heroes is Barnabas. Without him, there would have been no St Mark or St Paul, nor all the Scriptures that came from them. You may know that Barnabas was from Cyprus, and his actual name was Joseph. “Barnabas” was not his name, but a nickname, meaning “Son of Encouragement.” He was so encouraging to others that people forgot his given name, and simply called him the Son of Encouragement.
We need more people like Barnabas! May we all become so encouraging that people forget our given names, and start calling us the Sons and Daughters of Encouragement!
The Lord be with you,