Two weeks ago, we started this new blog series that focused upon the things my parents didn’t teach me based upon some of the issues we see today. Again, please don’t take any of the following blogs as a guilt trip to those who have struggled or have made mistakes. I do not elevate anyone, including my parents, above Christ. But I do obey scripture to “give honor to whom honor is due.”
Part 3…what didn’t my parents teach me? They didn’t teach me to withhold encouragement.
I stand by a statement I said to our congregation at Kfirst on March 23rd, 2013:
“If you are NOT an encourager, you will NEVER become the spouse/parent God wants you to be.”
That message was a crossroads for me as a believer and pastor. I remember the season of ministry I was in. It was astounding the amount of people (including pastors) that were calling me just discouraged. They were broken and bruised. These people were either beat up by discouragement or starved by the lack of encouragement.
What does that have to do with what I learned from my parents and or marriage? Well, first of all, they were married. Secondly, they are pastors. I have seen them discouraged in life and ministry. Yet of all of the things they didn’t teach me, they didn’t teach me to allow their circumstances to make them serve encouragement sparingly.
I don’t think of a single time in my life where I didn’t see them encourage each other, their children, or the congregation they served. I can’t even recall moments in my life as a child/teen/adult where they were not the first to step up as an encourager in my life. Believe me, they’ve had every excuse to not be encouraging. I’ve seen people treat them terribly. As a pastor’s kid, I’ve watched discouraging moments happen to them. People have taken advantage of their kindness. Others have turned their back on them. Circumstances have come and gone that would’ve depleted anyone of joy…yet, no excuses were given and words of edification were always in great supply.
Now, I recognize that many people (possibly you the reader) never had that growing up and/or have it now as an adult. As stated in my first blog of this series, they’re not perfect. But their example has shown me this:
No matter if you had someone to encourage you in your past or not…
No matter what you are dealing with right now…
No matter if there’s no one in your corner right now…
…you can and should be an encourager.
Proverbs 11:25 “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
The cycle of discouragement must stop here and NOW. You may have an excuse to not encourage. We all do. I know my parents did and probably still do. Life is hard. Sometimes life just plain sucks. But there’s something powerful about the issue of encouragement: when we launch out to refresh others, we get refreshed. I don’t believe the refreshing comes from others. I believe it comes from the Lord. If you are depending upon your spouse (or anyone for that matter) to be the one to “fresh” you, it is clear that your life is centered upon deriving meaning, purpose, and joy from limited finite sources. In Christ we find life. And it’s from Him we get refreshed.
Stop waiting for others to refresh and replenish you. Don’t wait for your spouse to be the one to take the first step. Christ didn’t wait till we were ready to receive him to give hope to our discouraging circumstances. He gave.
And because he gave…we too can give.
Keep encouraging. Keep refreshing and let Christ help you become the spouse you need to be.
Thanks for letting me ramble…