Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Are You Ever Discouraged by Christian Encouragers?

Okay, I’m just going to get this off my chest: I get really tired of Christian encouragers. (Ah, I feel better already).

These "encouragers" (quotation marks here indicate a somewhat ironic tone) believe they've been given the "gift of encouragement," so they miss no opportunity to offer you oh so helpful advice about nearly everything. Not to mention their constant stroking of your feathers if they think perhaps you’re being a little too down on yourself or something. They never miss a chance to tell you how wonderful and gifted you are, and then they tell you what you need to do in order to really, you know, live the life God wants you to live (or whatever).

And for crying out loud, don’t let them pray for you. It’s like giving a microphone to a politician. Now they’ve got the floor and can really hold forth. Instead of actually praying for you they tell you the things they think you ought to do in order to deal with the issue for which you sought prayer. Maybe you say, "I’m really having some trouble with my teenage son. I don’t seem to be able to talk to him anymore." Well, the discouraging encourager will "pray" a whole agenda of things that you should do. All these things have been revealed to him/her by God of course. "I believe that God is telling me that you really need to put your foot down as a Dad." Or perhaps, "God wants me to tell you that you need to take your boy out to a ball game and bond with him." You get the idea. This kind of thing can go on for a while, so you might as well settle in.

Either that, or you can just say, "Thanks, man, but I really wasn’t looking for your extended analysis of my situation all gussied up as prayer."

Oh, and then there’s the "spiritual" side of their advice. You know, they lay hands on the poor prayer recipient, who is perhaps suffering through depression or a broken marriage or addiction or who knows what, and they say, "Dear, you just really need to have more faith. You need to believe in your miracle. Are you reading your Bible every day, girl? Maybe you should come to the church prayer meeting on Wednesday night," etc., etc., etc. All this and more they squeeze between the words, "Dear God" and "Amen."

I haven’t done a careful Scriptural study of this, but I suspect that most Biblical prayers are not like this at all. Instead, they’re prayers to God asking Him to move, to intervene, to glorify Himself in the life of the person(s) being prayed for, rather than simply detailing the action-steps that the recipient should take.

1 comment:

Christian Encouragers! said...

I saw your post and wanted to let you know that as someone who runs a blog about Encouragement, (ChristianEncouragers.com), I totally get what you're saying and I fully agree.

Some Christians tend to use "ChristianEase" in order to hide their own sin? It is the greatest stumbling block to unbelievers that there is. What I try to do is encourage those who are lost, or who need to turn towards home to find their way, not lord over them my ability to write, or use scriptures, etc. I even post music videos which are kind of powerful when doing this kind of work. I don't have a great following, but the Lord put it on my heart to start the blog, and while I've been away from it for awhile, (I also write for a newspaper and am currently being syndicated), I've come back full force because time is short! Jesus is returning 4 us soon, and I want people to be awake, not caught asleep as these so called "encouragers" you speak of. I've had bad experiences myself, so I understand what you are talking about. Sometimes, as you said, we need to pray silently for God to intervene while you are telling your story, then go home and pray in private, not lord it over you that we are good at prayer. Jesus warned us not to pray in the "public square as the Pharisee's," so that kind of makes these "encouragers" Pharsisee's doesn't it? It makes me wonder about their spiritual welfare! I would hold your hand, or put my hand on your shoulder and tell you, "I will pray," not just pray in public like that, giving eloquent prayers, because I think that irritates God! He wants us to "bear one another's burdens, thus fulfilling the law of Christ," (Gal 6:2), not make ourselves the center of attention when you are hurting. That's just wrong, and I'm sorry it happened to you. I apologize for those people, and ask that you forgive us for being so zealous, and phony. We have all sinned and fallen short, and thus need Christ to save us. Simple stupid right? We tend to complicate things and thus cause others to stumble because they then think they have to be the type of Christian we are? NOT! I hope you will forgive these people, because forgiveness sets you free. They may not know you are angry at them, thus they don't know they have wronged you, but you can simply 4give them and move on in your walk, looking up instead of around you. I've had to learn to do that, and it's difficult! Jesus is the only one who can heal our wounds, or point us in the right direction. I hope you will 4give and let go of your anger, and then find a good church, where people will just hold your hand, and pray silently, and commit to praying for you, and for God to intervene, giving Him ALL THE GLORY! AMEN???

Take care and God Bless. Thank you for your honesty!
JeriAnn Eakin