Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

March 29, 2004

Encouragement (5)

How to give hope. How to encourage.

There's a lot of false hope out there. That is, a lot of hoping in that which is false. Hoping in that which will not avail. There's a lot of leaning on broken reeds, even within the church. There's a lot of faulty encouragement, empty words intended to boost confidence but providing no real ground for it. Words. Words that seem to lose their significance in a moment, petering out with a woeful flicker.

Some assumptions:

1) We all need real encouragement. That is, we need encouragement, and we also need the encouragement to be real. Please, don't just tell me everything's going to be okay, or that God loves me just the way I am, or that my sin is not really sin and God doesn't really care about it anyway, or I can do anything if I just put my mind to it, or don't worry, be happy.

2) Real encouragement, no matter what the context, is grounded on Jesus Christ. It is not grounded on ability, or heredity, or intelligence, or self-discipline, or optimism, or meds, or the right friends, or the right diet, or the right books, or the right spiritual guru, or the right thoughts, or the right church. It is based on Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. "Just give me Jesus," is more than a pious slogan. It's a cry for real encouragement.

3) Nevertheless, real encouragement is not simple. It does not make glib promises. It does not take sin lightly. It does not take trouble and distress lightly. It is not a "quick fix." It is offered in the context of relationship, and it therefore requires commitment to the person needing encouragement. The encourager must be with him, must walk beside him, must face that which he faces, must hold him up when he is about to fall. No, please do not be a glib, happy-talking out-the-door-walking see-ya-later encourager.

More later.


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