Overcoming Sin through Christ: Discouragement

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Discouragement

Have you ever come to a place in your life when you felt helpless and hopeless?  The English word discourage means “to deprive of confidence, hope, or spirit.”[1]  It means “to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dispirit,” and “to discourage is to dishearten by expressing disapproval or by suggesting that a contemplated action will probably fail.”[2] 

Discouragement is more than depression, more than disappointment, and more than sadness.  When Paul was in Ephesus, he experienced many trials.  Later, he wrote about this time: “We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).  Even Jesus experienced deep anguish.  Matthew says that He “began to be grieved and distressed” as His time of death approached, and He confessed, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (26:37-38). 

But discouragement goes beyond this.  Some people feel so hopeless that they consult the psychiatrist to find the solution.  They are so angry at their circumstances, that they blame God and accuse Him of not loving and caring.  They may feel so guilty over a sin they have committed, that they take their own life, like Judas.[3]

Discouragement is sinful for it looks at life circumstances only from a human and earthly standpoint.  It is an attitude of despair over what life could have been.  It is despair over what they would like their life to be or over what they would like others to be.  Discouragement is related to envy (desiring what another has and feeling resentment over the person for having it), and to greed (wanting more than what one has), and to unbelief (an unwillingness to trust God even in the deprivation).

 

The Scriptural antidote to discouragement is faith in God.  If we trust God, we will believe that He has a reason for our lot in life.  We will be able to say, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

Various sins are connected to discouragement.  Schlink thinks that discouragement is related to unbelief.  She says:

If a father loves his child and sacrifices everything to take care of him, can the child hurt him more than by being mistrustful and thinking, “My father doesn’t intend to do anything good for me”? . . . So it is not a harmless sin to be discouraged and to open the door to disbelief and then to persist in it. . . . If we do not believe, it is a sin.  It is our pride.  Pride and arrogance cause us to criticize God. . . . We usually say so piously, “I am discouraged” instead of admitting that we are rebelling and thinking we know better than God.  But if, in our pride, we act as though He cannot help us, we are insulting God. . . . Pride, mistrust and trying to evade carrying our cross are actually the reasons why we fall down.[4]

Notice the way Paul encountered and overcame the disappointments in his life: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  With this attitude of overcoming and victorious confidence in God, we will be able to take “courage” rather than be “discouraged” when trials come our way.  Jesus said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).  Belief or faith is the key that will pull you out of troubling thoughts and  discouragement.

 



[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[2] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[3] See our booklet, Should You Take Your Life?

[4] You Will Never be the Same, pp. 67-68.

 

 

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