Discouragement, encouragement, and courage

If my favorite word is encourage, perhaps my least favorite is discourage.

bondChristian.com is down again. My computer isn’t working either. I tried downloading a new word processor, but it failed… twice.

Not that I live a hard life by any means. But in those less than enjoyable times, I realized why discouragement is so devastating.

While encouragement puts courage in, discouragement sucks courage out. Discouragement casts doubt on what I thought was certain.

I thought bondChristian.com would be running now. I thought my computer would start up. I thought that word processor would download. But they didn’t.

So immediately doubt sets in. Not only do I start doubting the site, computer, and word processor – I start doubting everything else as well.

Just like encouragement, discouragement is infectious. It eats away at courage, leaving only uncertainty.

That’s one peculiar result of discouragement. Discouragement takes courage from one person but doesn’t give it back to someone else. Similarly but in the opposite direction, encouragement gives courage without taking it away from anyone else.

Courage is not like matter. Matter is not created or destroyed. It is simply converted.

Courage, in contrast, is created and destroyed. We’re not working with a given amount of courage that’s spread out among everyone. One moment we can have courage – the next we can have none.

Discouragement devastates because it sucks courage from everyone involved.

Encouragement comforts because it spreads courage to everyone involved.