The Chronicles of Biscuit: Stories about our youngest son, whose nickname is Biscuit.
Do you have someone in your life who is discouraging? Who, no matter what, believes the worst is going to happen?
A few weeks ago, Biscuit was telling some big story and his oldest brother was telling him how it wouldn't work. He said, "Zachary, quit being a dream crusher!" This morning, as I was doing my Bible reading, I heard him tell another brother, "Stop killin' my dreams!". It seems that Biscuit's plans are being squelched by his older brother and they're discouraging his dreams and optimism.
Some people call it being realistic. Some people believe they're being helpful, preventing the other person from being discouraging. But others of us, the ones whose plans are being "killed" just call it being pessimistic.
We all want to believe that our plans and dreams can be successful - even if they seem a little far out. We want to believe that our ideas will work, and perhaps grow wings and soar....reaching a certain level of success.
Some will, and truly, some won't. Some won't because they can't work. Some won't work because we, ourselves, don't work. And some won't work because they're not God's Will for them to work.
To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
All a person’s ways seem pure to them,
but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.
But, let's look at this from the other side of the story....the discouragers' side. We shouldn't want to be discouragers. That should never be our mission. As Christians, we should be encouragers. And, if you pull just this one verse out of the passage, it would seem to say to encourage everyone in everything - no matter what their plans seem to be.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
But the verse above begins with "therefore", so we know that the encouraging and building up has to do with the scriptures above that part.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-10
What's the difference, you ask? Why is this encouragement different than any other encouragement? Because this encouragement talked about in the scriptures above are telling us to encourage each other to be faithful, to walk in the light, to be diligent in our Christian walk, so that when Jesus comes, we will be found faithful. That is the encouragement we must show and tell to others. Not that all of their plans will succeed. But, that when they put their faith in God, when they are striving to live their life for Him, then and only then will their plans succeed.
The scripture in Proverbs comes back to the plans and puts it back on the person with the dreams. If our plans are with selfish, impure motives, our friends and family shouldn't encourage us in those plans. However, even then, we can be careful in how we use our words. We must be careful to guide them to turn their minds back to God...to guide their hearts to have pure motives....to encourage them to commit all of their ways to Him so that He will allow their plans to succeed.
So, you see, perhaps Biscuit's older brothers are telling Biscuit what is true and right. Maybe his plans and dreams are a little far-fetched. But his brothers can use their words in a better way, so as not to discourage him quite so bluntly. They shouldn't be telling him it won't work, but rather be encouraging him to keep his faith in God, and to allow God to direct his steps. In doing so, Biscuit may find that his steps are being guided with impure motives and not according to God's Will.
But maybe Biscuit's plans will succeed. Maybe things will turn out the ways he wants them to and believes they will. Maybe his motives are pure. That's the key point. We can't tell when a person's motives are pure and when they're not. And we don't have to or need to. Only God truly knows a person's heart.
This passage sums up the whole thing - the "dreamer" end and the "encourager/discourager" end. Basically, we should do everything with the love of Christ and always putting the other person first. When we do those two things, we won't say and do hurtful things, but encourage others in the way that we should. This is what Biscuit, his brothers, and all of us need to remember.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.