Encourage one another and build one another up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
The overabundance of negativity is largely due to the fact that the prideful eye of the fallen human heart is trained to see others’ weaknesses, foibles, mistakes, and sins. It looks for them and relishes in them. It even sees ones that aren’t there. Why are we like this?
Ironically, one reason is that we are all looking for hope for ourselves. Courage comes from hope. Discouragement sets in when hope leaks. In the chaos of the battle, we can easily wound each other with critical friendly fire and forget that encouragement is also necessary for spiritual survival.
Encouragement is spiritual warfare. If we’re going to encourage anyone, we will have to fight Satan and our own sin to do it.
Barnabas (“son of encouragement”) people are those who soak in and store up God’s word (Psalm 119:11) and, by doing so, are able to walk and talk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). And when they talk, they tend to only speak what “is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
We need Barnabas people. We need to be a Barnabas.