Written by Pastor Richard Izzard
Virginia Satir, a Social Scientist, told delegates of the American Ortho-psychiatric Association that there is a cure for depression and discouragement that doesn't require a prescription, is free, and its even fun! She reported that “every person for survival needs at least 4 hugs a day, for maintenance needs 8 hugs a day, and for growth, no less than 12 hugs a day.” Obviously, especially in the days of social distancing our ‘hugs’ are associated with kind words, compliments, positive strokes, praises, approvals, thanks and commendations. She also went on to say “negative comments are so devastating that it takes 99 positive strokes to combat one put down.”
When it is thought of in that way, the words of St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 comes as a powerful reinforcement, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” The word that St. Paul uses literally means “to mend one’s nets.” As fishermen carefully check their nets at the end of each day’s catch, mending those places where mending is needed so that none would be lost. So we, as children of God need to go all out to mend, repair, restore and strengthen our relationships, especially within the Body of Christ.
Discouragement is one of the most devastating of all darts that the devil can throw our way. It weakens us and the Body of Christ, so that we become even more vulnerable to the devil’s attacks. I’ve heard the criticism that “the Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded.” No doubt we all have been wounded by sin, and there are times when we fall short of God’s glory, but by the love of God and by the price that Christ paid in full on the cross, we are healed and forgiven and made whole. Therefore, let us not be guilty of “shooting the wounded.” Rather let us be about the business of “building up the Body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)
These are difficult and discouraging times , but by God’s help and with the encouragement of one another we will get through it. Let us not forget the fulfillment of Christ’s promise that we do have the One whom He sent to walk alongside us, as a Counselor and an Encourager, One who is with us always, helping us in crying to our Heavenly Father, “Abba!”