The Fist of Discouragement

“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For God will treat you as you treat others. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged.”  —  Matthew 7:1-2

In the 1700’s, an English cobbler kept a map of the world on his workshop wall so that he might be reminded to pray for the nations of the world. As the result of such prayer, he became especially burdened for a specific missionary outreach. He shared this burden at a meeting of ministers, but was told by a senior minister, “Young man, sit down. When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help or mine.”

The cobbler, William Carey, did not let this man’s remarks put out the flame of his concern. When he couldn’t find others to support the missionary cause that had burdened his soul, he became a missionary himself. His pioneering efforts in India are legendary; his mighty exploits for God are recorded by many church historians.

Have you every been the victim of the fist of discouragement? In these days, I believe it to be the chief weapon of the Enemy. Satan knows the effectiveness of this tool, so he uses it often.

The question that haunts me most is, “Have I been the fist of discouragement in the life of someone else?”  By my words, attitudes and actions, have I caused someone to lose heart and passion for what God is doing in their life?

As in the experience of William Carey, it is usually someone who is doing nothing that discourages the one who is trying to do something. Those who have done nothing in life are not qualified to judge those that have done little! It is easy for the spectator to criticize the gladiator…but let him come to the coliseum floor and fight the lion and the spectator will sing a different tune.

Be careful how you respond to the enthusiasm of others. Don’t dampen someone’s zeal for God. Be cautious in how you respond to the new ideas of another, that you don’t squelch their God-given creativity.

Be generous and kind in evaluation the work of others, so that you might encourage those things which are worthy. Be slow to judge and quick to praise. Then pray for the same in your own life!


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