Posted by: Jo | March 6, 2015

Empower Not Discourage!

“Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

(1 Thessalonians 4:18)

image My husband and I have just been reading the story of Nehemiah, in our Bible study, and I suddenly realised while we were reading, what an incredible example this is of how harmful words can be, especially when they are laced with discouragement.

Discouraging remarks can have a powerful impact on those to whom they have been directed and can shake one’s confidence, weaken resolve, destroy ambition and even paralyse effort altogether. Many of these emotions emerge in this story and how Nehemiah was able to negate them is still relevant.

Nehemiah had been sent back to restore the broken walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3) and this effort was viewed in horror by Israel’s enemies who certainly did not want to see Israel prosper again. They first try belittling the Jews themselves;

“…What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall?” (Nehemiah 4:2)

Then they attack their work

“…What they are building – if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.” (Nehemiah 4:3)

Nehemiah, however serves a mighty God and he calls upon his help to destroy any power these words have on those building the wall. Speaking to God restores his confidence and then he is able to speak encouraging words to the workers, destroying the poisonous words effect on the Israelites.

“…Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

The similarity of events contained here, are strikingly evident in our own society today. Many of us have been in situations of being the target of discouraging words. We may have been seeking a change in careers, thinking of going back to school, we may have an idea for an outreach ministry in our church. We may have also heard these words;

You haven’t got the skills for that!

You were never good at school work!

It will never work!

image Discouraging words can hurt more than weapons.

When we look at Nehemiah’s reaction to discouraging words we have a solution to any attack we or others, we know and love, experience. Seek the Lord first. Seek encouragement from those who love the Lord. Spread the good news to others.

Scripture has a lot to say about how we use our tongue and how words can destroy or bring about healing and this is one of my favourites;

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

When we realise that our words, spoken with the Lord’s wisdom behind us, can bring about healing, we become more aware and careful of how we speak to others. When Paul was writing to believers, he frequently began by praising their faith, praising how firmly they stood for Jesus Christ. So when we also realise we can empower others by using encouraging words , praising their work, commending them for their efforts, we will witness amazing growth in the kingdom of God.


  1. We all prefer to hear positve words rather than negative, therefore we must remember to use kind encouraging words rather than criticism! Thank you Jo


  2. Thank you, Mary,
    Too true we often discourage ourselves before we start!!


  3. So true Jo. Sometimes we even discourage ourselves thinking we’re not capable of the task, instead of asking for help from above and finding out what is possible. Thanks again old friend and God bless, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is Saturday morning here Jo, and once again I start the day by reading your words. Today, as always, they really hit home. Out with the cricism, in with the praise! Thank you, Jo.


    • Thank you, Jo, I agree!!


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