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Haggai Encourages God's People

(Haggai 1:2-14)

Lesson 3 -- third quarter 2003
June 15, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

Be an encourager!

Negative people live everywhere, and sometimes it seems they outnumber all the rest of us. These naysayers complain, criticize, and condemn. They are bleak and make others that way. They have eyes and ears that quickly pick out the failings and shortcomings around them. They have lips and tongues that diligently pick apart almost anyone about them. They are insensitive prophets of discouragement. To listen to them, you would think we have no reason to smile, to hope, and to go on.

Many negative folks believe and proclaim that they are not being negative, just realistic. They insist that an honest look about demonstrates the reality of their views and concerns. They declare that a good dose of realism will justify their negativism and pessimism.

And aren't they correct? After all, man is naturally evil. Nature is gradually deteriorating. Human events are highlighting the collapse of people, families, churches, nations, and cultures. Sin is becoming bolder. Deception is increasing in number and effectiveness. All of this does represent the reality of the times in which we live, doesn't it? Therefore, it would seem that reality both vindicates and gives license to all those negative people.

I agree. If that is the only reality a person knows, negativism is understandable and justifiable.

But that perception of reality is a woefully incomplete view! Encouragers know that, see that, and believe that. The encourager is well-acquainted with the realities so aptly pointed out by the naysayer. Both of them live in the same world and go through many of the same experiences. But the encourager's perception is keener. He sees God and, therefore, he sees good. That allows him to hope, to have faith, to see possibility. So instead of tearing down, he builds up.

My friend, you can be a grump, a complainer, and a critic if you wish. But please don't! Choose the grander view! Be a builder! Be an encourager! Be the personification of a positive attitude!

An encourager in action

An encourager notices the good things. He readily points out to the others the positive thing accomplished by someone else. He quickly commends others for what they do right. He is thankful (and says so) for the nice things others do for him. He looks around him and acknowledges the blessings he sees . . . and looks diligently for the ones he hasn't seen yet.

An encourager notices those who fail. He knows that failure can cast down, so he moves in to lift up. He tries hard to motivate the fallen one to try again, to not give up in defeat. His heart is with the defeated person. Because of his own failures and defeats, he offers empathy and assurance.

An encourager notices and acts on the basis of hope, joy, and love. He has God's message, so how could he not have hope, joy, and love?! Oh, God's message is at times hard and heavy, to be sure. And the encourager does not neglect to deliver such a message. But even that he presents as an encourager, pointing to God's grace and forgiveness . . . and his own readiness to help by walking alongside the recipient of the message.

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