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Understanding encouragement and human emotions


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Why do people need encouragement? Why does repeating known facts over and over raise most peoples' spirits when they are feeling down? Is it to do with a need to know that someone else understands (identifies with) how they feel? It seems to me that it is a need to feel cared about by other human beings rather than a need to be reminded of known facts. (example: Jehovah's mercy, forgiveness, love etc etc etc). What do you think?

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I think the study 53 of the school book gives a good take on your question

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/lv/r1/lp-e/0/21199

Call to Mind What Jehovah Has Done. An important way to inspire courage is by showing how Jehovah helped his people through difficulties in the past.—Rom. 15:4.

Jehovah told Moses to “encourage” and “strengthen” Joshua before Israel entered the Promised Land, which at the time was occupied by enemy nations. How did Moses do that? In Joshua’s presence, Moses reminded the entire nation of the things Jehovah had done for them as they left Egypt. (Deut. 3:28; 7:18) Moses also recounted victories that Jehovah had given them over the Amorites. Then Moses urged Joshua: “Be courageous and strong.” (Deut. 31:1-8) When seeking to encourage your brothers, do you help them to draw strength by remembering what Jehovah has already done for them?

Sometimes individuals are so overwhelmed by their problems that they wonder whether they will ever experience the blessings of the Kingdom. Remind them of the dependability of Jehovah’s promises.—Josh. 23:14.

In some lands our brothers are faced with government decrees forbidding the preaching of the good news. In such cases, loving elders can help fellow believers to draw strength from the experiences of the apostles of Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:1–5:42) And highlighting the way God maneuvered events as recorded in the book of Esther will most certainly inspire the brothers to have courage

Also below an excellent article on encouragement :

w13 8/15 pp. 18-22(http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/lv/r1/lp-e/0/13096)

13 We need to ‘encourage one another all the more as we behold the day drawing near.’ Encouraging others involves motivating them to continue moving forward in their service to God. Just as inciting to love and fine works can be likened to stirring up a fire that is about to go out, encouraging others can be likened to putting fuel on the fire to keep it burning or to increase its intensity. Encouraging others calls for strengthening and comforting the downhearted. When given an opportunity to encourage such a person, we must speak in a warm and gentle manner. (Prov. 12:18) Moreover, let us “be swift about hearing” and “slow about speaking.” (Jas. 1:19) If we listen empathetically, we may be able to identify situations that discourage a fellow Christian and say something to help him deal with those circumstances.

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Why do we need encouragement ...( to give heart)

Lots of reasons 

1) We are frail.. Electro chemical dynamic  beings 

2) Our hearts are treacherous .

3) We are not meant to be solitary independent creatures.

4) We are so far from perfection... But still free moral agents  with the challenges

5) Being vulnerable is  an exercise in humility ... We NEED each other.

6) We NEED more than each other .. We need Jehovah, his son and the congregation ..

Encouragement is his power operating in us .. Love.

Eph 3:20

20 Now to the one who can, according to his power that is operating in us, do more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask or conceive,  21 to him be the glory by means of the congregation and by means of Christ Jesus to all generations forever

 

7) Learning and Encouragement are symbiotic

 

28 Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you.  29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves.  30 For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light...

 

 

Hope that was encouraging :)

 


Edited by Lance
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I have always been of the opinion that some, not the majority, survive on 'atta boys.'  No 'atta  boy' this month, not at meeting next month.

I do believe that it is our responsibility to provide continued encouragement to to all and especially to those down in spirit. We are under obligation to imitate our Father in this respect. Jehovah shows us mercy, Jehovah is not judgemental in his dispensation of mercy. It is up to those that are strong to support the weak, whether it is because they are mentally down trodden or physically down trodden, the weak deserve to be encouraged and supported by those that have it within their power to do so.

 

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7 minutes ago, Old said:

I have always been of the opinion that some, not the majority, survive on 'atta boys.'  No 'atta  boy' this month, not at meeting next month.

I do believe that it is our responsibility to provide continued encouragement to to all and especially to those down in spirit. We are under obligation to imitate our Father in this respect. Jehovah shows us mercy, Jehovah is not judgemental in his dispensation of mercy. It is up to those that are strong to support the weak, whether it is because they are mentally down trodden or physically down trodden, the weak deserve to be encouraged and supported by those that have it within their power to do so.

 

Agreed. To add to that, encouragement is an expression of love and we were created to give and receive love. Giving encouragement/love benefits the giver and recipient because Jehovah created us that way, so we give encouragement to everyone but especially those that need it the most.

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As I get older in life and in the truth .. I see a lot of people are broken, most of the brokenness is not on the surface...

I just gave a memorial talk for a 40 year old brother in our hall .. Many physical and brain health challenges ...

He did what could .. With what abilities he had 

But that conclusion at times takes insight ... Something I am still learning 

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34 minutes ago, jayrtom said:

I tried... Sorry if that was not a good answer ;) 

I am aware of what encouragement entails. What I want to know is, what are the REASONS that encouragement is needed? It seems to me that encouragement is simply reminding a fellow believer of the facts which are already known. Why is this needed? When we are feeling down does our memory fail us? Do we need convincing of Jehovah's love all over again? Does our faith diminish? Does our hope diminish? Does our knowledge become suspect? Why does repetition of already (supposedly) known truths lift our spirits? I am honestly seeking an explanation.

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5 hours ago, Thike Salvmu said:

... It seems to me that it is a need to feel cared about by other human beings rather than a need to be reminded of known facts. (example: Jehovah's mercy, forgiveness, love etc etc etc). What do you think?

I am in agreement with you.  With some it is the same as getting hugged. Pet cat it purrs. That is not to say that being reminded of known facts is not an important tool in encouraging down hearted ones. I am not typically subject to spiritual depression, but during the rather dark years surrounding 1975 I was discussing with a friend the futility of our door to door work. This was prompted by a question from readers in the WT on Acts 20:20, asking if Paul went door to door in the manner we do today. The answer in the WT was no.

Coupled with other pressures in life that answer took the wind out of my sails. My friends response was, "Whether the door to door work is being done in the manner that we always understood it should be done, or not, we need to keep in mind  (Hebrews 13:15)" . . .Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that make public declaration to his name. . ." so it is not important as to the how, it is something we must do."

I knew that scripture, but calling my attention to it resolved a problem I was battling with. So sometimes we just need being reminded of known facts.

 

As a matter of interest that question from readers and the response is missing in the Watchtower Library, as are several others of that era.

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Hi Brother Keith,

 

Your questions are good and important for us to understand. :)

So let's try to find the answers to each question you asked:

 

> "what are the reasons that encouragement is needed?"

First, there are different forms of encouragement because there are different reasons for the various encouragement that is needed. Brothers Jerry, Lance, Richard have already provided some of the various reasons why we need encouragement.  So Keith, when we look at all these various reasons, we can see a common issue - and that is the majority of the time the"reasons" encouragement is needed is because we are "lacking" something and often others can "see" this and so try to provide support.

 

For example, Brother Joe had to be removed as a Ministerial Servant and the elders and others in the congregation can "see" that Joe is not quite the same, he is commenting less, his ministry has decreased, a sad face. So what are the "reasons" that Joe needs encouragement if Joe already knows what he needs to do spiritually?

 

The "reasons" are that Joe is lacking or suffering in several areas - his self-esteem may be quite affected,  he may feel embarrassed and/or shame for his conduct, and the discipline has hurt a little.  And so when a person begins to hurt or suffer in some manner, the person's "glasses" become foggy or dark.  For example, in this case about Joe, his emotions have affected his spiritual "glasses" or view. His self-esteem has worsened so his "view" of himself is foggy/dark and he is lacking in courage to face all of this so his "glasses" are dim. So to directly answer this question, 1 of the main "reasons" encouragement is needed is because whenever we are hurt or saddened or depressed, this directly affects our view of matters - our view of ourself, our spiritual view, our view of many things. 

 

> "When we are feeling down does our memory fail us?" 

Normally we still remember the truth, even if something traumatic has happened. For example, Sister Mary's husband just died.  Mary is very sad and has a hard time moving forward. But Mary has been Pioneering for 20 years, she has helped so many people learn about the promised New World and the hope of the Resurrection. Has her memory now failed her and she cannot remember what the Bible says about "death" or whether or not there is going to be a "resurrection"?

No, Mary could easily explain and even directly quote the scriptures about the "resurrection" hope . So the memory has not diminished, but the sadness and emotional turmoil directly affects Mary's thinking and view of herself and her view of the future being without her spouse and best friend. So Mary doesn't need someone to help her recall the scriptures, she is in need of "courage" to face the difficulties that she has to face ahead alone.   

 

> "Do we need convincing of Jehovah's love all over again? Does our faith diminish? Does our hope diminish?"

These questions here point to what I mentioned earlier that "there are different forms of encouragement because there are different reasons for the various encouragement that is needed".

 

So let's use the examples above, does either Sister Mary or Brother Joe need convincing of Jehovah's love all over again?

Well Mary knows that Jehovah loves her, from all of her time serving Jehovah she is convinced of Jehovah's love for her as 1 of his precious sheep, but the "reasons" that she needs encouragement are different that Brother Joe.

 

Joe on the other hand has lately been wondering about how Jehovah views him since he had to be removed from his privileges.

Joe, like Mary, is also convinced that Jehovah is a loving God who loves his people, but now Joe is wondering whether Jehovah loves him?

So while Joe does not need a full convincing all over again of Jehovah's love for him, his "glasses" have become foggy and so he needs encouragement to reassure him of how Jehovah still loves him and that being disciplined by our Father means the opposite of Him no longer caring about us or not loving us. And so the elders visit him and encourage him by adjusting his "glasses" by means of scriptures like this one:

(Hebrews 12:6)

". . .for those whom Jehovah loves he disciplines...."
 

Now does our faith or hope ever diminish?

Notice another situation, Brother Fred has been working hard for the congregation and for Jehovah for over 40 years and has also been successful in business. But recently his business started failing and eventually Fred loses his business and income.

Now Fred is angry! And now because of the anger and frustrations over this situation, Fred now has foggy "glasses" thinking to himself things like this:

"Why would Jehovah allow this?", "Why aren't the elders helping me faster?", "I have given my life to Jehovah! He promised that if I seek first the Kingdom I would have everything I need!" 

As Fred festers on these thoughts over the following weeks and months, sadly his faith in Jehovah, the elders diminishes, as well as his hope in the Bible's promises.

 

 Does Fred need someone to study the Bible with him again to help him remember what the Bible says about these matters that are affecting him? No.

But Brother Fred does need encouragement in the form someone helping him to clear up the "fog" on his spiritual "glasses".

Fred also needs to be reminded, even though Fred's memory has not failed him, of what Jesus exactly promised at MT 6:33  and what this really means. And also a reason that Fred needs to be encouraged is because he now sadly sees through his foggy glasses that all of his hard work over the past 40 years is for nothing. So while Fred knows the following the scriptures, Fred's close friends visit him and clear away the fog on his glasses by encouraging Fred with scriptures he already knows. For example his friends encourage him telling his this:

 

"Fred, do you realize what you have really done in these past 40 years? (They read to him Mt 6:30)

 You have actually been storing  “treasures in heaven.”! 

Your record of fine works for the congregation and for Jehovah are like riches deposited with the Creator in heaven and you can be assured that the blessings that come from this are long-lasting!"

 Now Fred's glasses start getting clearer! Now he doesn't feel so bad. This encouragement gives him the "courage" to keep going! 

 

Finally, think about this interesting fact. A person might feel that the reason we need encouragement is simply because we are just imperfect. Yes, we are imperfect which definitely affects us, but what if you were perfect?  What reason would you need encouragement them?  Well perfection is relative, and so here is a person who needed encouragement, even though he was perfect!

 

*** w14 4/1 p. 6 Should You Pray? ***
Instead of removing a personal problem, God often gives his people the strength needed to cope with it. (2 Corinthians 4:7) For example, when Jesus begged his Father to remove an ordeal, fearing that it would bring reproach on God’s name, Jehovah dispatched an angel to strengthen his Son. (Luke 22:42, 43) Similarly, God may use a close friend to give us a word of encouragement when we need it most. (Proverbs 12:25) Because this kind of answer is subtle, we may have to be more alert to the way God responds to our prayers.


Edited by Beggar for the Spirit
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Excellent replies brothers.  I hadn't thought too much about 'why' we humans need encouragement so much.  I was always just thinking how much we need it, especially in these last days with all its unbelievable pressures - Heb 10:25.

 

Then I also started thinking about the "interchange of encouragement" mentioned by Paul at Rom 1:11, 12  coming into play.  When we share that encouragement with others, it fulfills something in us - something akin to "more happiness in giving than there is in receiving" - Acts 20:35.

 

This month's Awake article on Anxieties also shows this point. "Often, though, we can allay anxieties by addressing them in a practical way. For example, when the Bible writer Paul felt “anxiety for all the congregations,” he worked hard to comfort and encourage those for whom he was concerned."  So by giving encouragement as Paul did in this situation, he felt he was doing something practical about his fears for the congregation.  He benefited and they did.

 

Must be how Jehovah wanted us to operate - the giving and taking of good emotions to counteract the bad things we humans feel.  As Neil mentioned in his post, even Jesus, a perfect man needed encouragement.  It's part of our makeup to thrive on encouragement when the situation gets too hard to handle.  The best encouragement we can have is through our relationship with Jehovah.  We know he draws close to us and we feed on this positivity, like being plugged into an electric socket. We need it to survive.

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Sometimes all of Satan's missiles seem to go in deep so to speak. I haven't felt so low for a long time, I'm tired, tears flow, I WANT to do more but I feel frozen. So I'm discouraged and feel hopeless at times.

Like Paul said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Too many challenges yet knowing Jehovah won't let us go beyond what we can bare.

Reading and concentration feel impossible.

If it weren't for the love of Jehovah and our spiritual family who could stand?

We can be our own worst enemies in staying positive as we examine ourselves with a critical eye.

A few thoughts while in the eye of the storm ...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Everyone here helps️ All of us are undergoing trials in these last days and we need each other.

Jehovah made us to show compassion and kindness. Like the illustration of the body if one part is suffering the body compensates and allows that part to heal.

There are times we are strong and times we are weak, so we support one another.

We all need positive honest encouragement. At times our problems can be overwhelming we don't see the forest for the trees.

With the Imitate Their Faith book it shows us nothing new will befall us yet we may feel alone. We are imperfect and need those reminders.

I think of the Emperor Penguins : They huddle together to escape wind and conserve warmth. Individuals take turns moving to the group's protected and relatively toasty interior. Once a penguin has warmed a bit it will move to the perimeter of the group so that others can enjoy protection from the icy elements.

As this system comes to a close we should be a tight knit group knowing one another well.

Romans 15:1,2

1 We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong,+ and not to be pleasing ourselves.+ 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.+

🏻

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On 22/04/2016 at 8:49 PM, Thike Salvmu said:

Why do people need encouragement? Why does repeating known facts over and over raise most peoples' spirits when they are feeling down?

I agree with Jewelz. It encourages us knowing that others have been able to withstand their trials with Jehovah's help. We are not alone in this. So it helps us to weather the storms and have patience and endurance to suffer "a little while", knowing Jehovah promised a good outcome.  We hear these promises in our ears in a personal sense, directly appreciating Jehovah's care for us.

 

I really like to remind myself of this scripture. It keeps me going. I know I am not alone.

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time, while you throw all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.  Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.  But take your stand against him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by the entire association of your brothers in the world.  But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training. He will make you firm, he will make you strong, he will firmly ground you.

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On 4/22/2016 at 8:49 AM, Thike Salvmu said:

Why do people need encouragement?

 

Because we are human.

 

Not because we are imperfect, Jehovah created us with the need/desire/trait of encouragement.

 

Genesis 3:8, 9 says of Adam, " 8 Later they heard the voice of Jehovah God as he was walking in the garden about the breezy part of the day, and the man and his wife hid from the face of Jehovah God among the trees of the garden. 9 And Jehovah God kept calling to the man and saying to him: “Where are you?. . .". This would seem to indicate that it was "normal" for Adam to "talk with Jehovah" on a regular basis, during the breezy part of the day. This would be helpful to Adam and, to be sure, it would have been very encouraging to him.

 

This seems to have been a regular event before Adam sinned or he would not have decided to hide before that time of the day - he got regular encouragement from his Father while still perfect. So, we were created that way.

 

We were created to give and receive encouragement - it is that simple.

 

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