DISAPPOINTED OR DISCOURAGED?
T. Pierce Brown
Because there is such a close relationship between our thinking, talking and acting, we need to use words with extreme care. Not only do preachers and teachers need to realize this, we need to teach our listeners to practice thinking and talking more accurately. Although many connected with the church of the Lord may now ridicule the idea of calling Bible things by Bible names, it is especially important that we use Bible words in the proper way. Such things as saying, “We do not believe in music in the church” has led some who are not familiar with our services to think we do not even sing. Expressions such as, “ThechurchofChristteaches (some particular doctrine)” do disservice to the cause of Christ, for they imply that thechurchofChristis some entity that originates doctrine.
Just now I read an excellent article on discouragement. The author so aptly pointed out the dangers of discouragement and suggested that it was one device of Satan to destroy our effectiveness. That is true, but I want to suggest an additional thought.
Many of us use the words “discouragement” and “disappointment” as if they were synonyms. They are not. If we do not recognize the difference, we may use the expression, “I am discouraged” then act that way and be defeated.
Even Jesus was disappointed, but who would be so bold as to say he did not have courage? If a person is “dis-couraged,” he loses his courage. Courage has to do with boldness, bravery, fortitude, valor and similar qualities. As Christians we do not have the right to be discouraged. We do have the right to be disappointed in ourselves, each other or in various other things.
It is true that a person may suffer so many disappointments that he will be discouraged, but he sins in so doing. We may be able to overcome that tendency a little if we will use the words more accurately. When the work you have planned does not succeed, when some unfaithful friend fails you and the Lord, when difficulty, disaster, danger or death face you, you have the right to be disappointed. Do not be discouraged, for Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). If you will say and think, “I am disappointed, but I am not discouraged,” it is probable that you can face the difficulties of life more adequately with the attitude expressed by Paul in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”