The main difference between an encourager and a discourager is generosity. There are probably other factors that distinguish the two. From my unscientific viewpoint, generosity makes a world of difference in the dispositions of most people. Once when our daughters were young, I came to an understanding that I was very inconsistent with my “yeses.” For instance, they might ask permission to watch a certain TV program, but I might say “no” sometimes and “yes” at other times. Those were in the days before remote controls, so I would have to actually get up off of the couch to change the channel. Part of my “yes” or “no” depended on what mood I was in or whether it was convenient. I found that just saying “no” to most everything is an easy habit to learn. Then, in the voice of one of our children came the question, “Why do you always say ‘no’ to us but do whatever you want?”
My dilemma became, won’t I be spoiling them if I say “yes” to most of the inconsequential things they ask for? Probably, maybe, sometimes—but then this became a time for us all to learn the lessons of responsibility. I could not carry out of the mall all of the things that our daughters might want me to buy for them when they were teenagers. But the response became, “Yes, you can have the pink Guess jeans, if that is what you really want. We will pay for the jeans part, but you will pay for the Guess label.” It was a “yes” with a dose of personal responsibility. I found that this Principle of the Responsible Yes, as I came to call it, caused me to want to develop a more generous spirit, even if it was a bit inconvenient at times.
I have never known an encourager who was not generous with time, money or “yeses.” Encouragers want to be the first to support a person or an effort. Encouragers want to be the first to give of their money. Encouragers want to be the first to give the responsible yes. Discouragers, on the other hand, are content to be the first to say “You can’t.” “I won’t.” “N-O.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be generous. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.