Courage is the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery. To dis-courage is to rob
someone of that confidence by expressing disapproval or raising objections. Colossians 3:21 says, “
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” To embitter is to cause one to look on everything negatively or with cynicism. Cynicism is scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others. Cynics were those in 4th century BC Greece who espoused self-control and individual freedom as bedrocks of virtue and believed that surrender to any external influence was beneath the dignity of man.
Wow! How we parent can really determine a child’s future way of being in the world. Constant complaining and nit-picking sends the message that the child can never do anything right. Through such negativity, they are robbed of gaining confidence in themselves.
Hearing us question the motives of others, they are robbed of having confidence in others. If they can’t trust themselves or others, what is there? Trust, says Erik Erikson, is the foundation of the psychosocial development of a person. Without it, the child is handicapped. In lieu of the basic attributes needed to have courage: self-possession, confidence, and resolution, the child is given fear, self-loathing and doubt.
Colossians 3:21 is a short verse, but it is packed with meaningful advice, which, if taken to heart, could change the world. Today I choose to praise, encourage, trust and forgive.
Thank you, Jesus (and Paul),