Be a discouraging Christian, please!

There is so much talk about being an encourager. In fact, just mouse over Ephesians 6:22, Colossians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and you can quickly surmise that God is all about encouraging others.

So why would I tell you to be a discourager?

Allow me to explain what I mean. About 33 years ago, Brian Thomas Doucher was born. After a series of events, we were brought into each other’s lives. He truly was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I would venture to say I was one of his best friends. On Sunday, April 8, 2012, Brian ended his own life. It is almost hard to type, but Brian committed suicide.

The circumstances are irrelevant. I’m not going to try to explain it (I don’t think I could), and I’m not trying to blame anyone. I want to talk about being a discourager in this post.

My goal is to exhort you to discourage others from following in Brian’s path. Let me explain. Brian actually was a great guy. He was very loved by many people, and impacted many folks as well.

Read some of the things people have written on his Facebook wall in just the few days since he passed onto eternity:

“Such a great guy, who’s silly jokes i’ll miss dearly!”
“Not a day goes by we will not think about you. Gone to Soon.”
“We all hope you knew how much we all love you”
“I don’t like many lawyers, and even fewer law students, but you were a good one buddy. One of the smartest people I’ve ever known.”
“Will really miss you buddy.”
“Thank you for all the great times we had together back in the day.”
“I will truly miss you bro. Through the years we went through the best of times and the worst of times. You had such a big heart and cared for others so much! I was heartbroken when i heard that you had passed!!”

So what’s my point? I guess I can’t say for certain, but I like to believe that Brian didn’t actually know how much people loved him. It is my guess that when he finally got to the brink of suicide, that he was literally hopeless. Now I’m not saying it is anyone’s fault, but I do believe we can impact people. I believe we can tell people how we feel about them, and ENCOURAGE them and be a DISCOURAGER for people who consider taking their own life.

I think: if Brian could’ve seen just his Facebook wall in the days after he passed, there is no way he would have done this. Of course, that isn’t truly up for argument. What I am saying is more along the lines of “I can’t imagine that Brian truly knew how loved he was and, frankly, how awesome so many people thought he was.”

Now for the real encouragement for YOU, dear reader: Let’s quickly discuss Brian’s eternal state. Many people would say suicide sends a person straight to hell; others would deny hell’s existence, or even assume all people go to heaven through some sort of universalism.

Let me put it this way, Jesus Christ, Lord of all came to seek and to save sinners (people: like me and you and Brian). All men have sinned against God, through our acts of faithlessness, disobedience to God’s laws and violations of His holiness. (Read The Gospel if you don’t get this or agree, it is worth investigating).

But God, in His kindness and mercy, while we were still enemies of Him demonstrated His love by sending His Son Jesus to die for sinners. God poured out His wrath on His Son on the cross. Jesus was buried as predicted and then resurrected. He was raised so that sinners might be justified before God. This means that God can forgive sinners because justice was served. God commands that men everywhere repent of sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. He offers this by grace and only by grace. You and I and Brian can and could do nothing to earn God’s favor. This is Good News. You can be reconciled to God if you will humble yourself and allow Christ’s righteousness to be the only righteousness you count on to be accepted by God.

What does this have to do with Brian? Brian confessed these things. Brian believed these things and had fruit in his life which indicated a desire to follow Christ. Was he weak? Yes, like we all are. But suicide does not disqualify someone from God’s grace any more than any other sin which Christ Himself bore on that tree. You, dear non-Christian, may live with a hope that Brian is in a better place, you may hope to see him someday or maybe you’ve “asked” him to say hi to your family member. I implore you to consider your own condition! I live with the rational hope that Brian truly did know Christ as Savior, that he committed a horrible and irreversible sin and that He went directly to be with His Lord by God’s grace. I hope you will live eternally praising and glorifying the name of Christ too!

Today is July 5, 2013. I just found this song today and wanted to share it with anyone who is dealing with a loss of friend.

4 Responses to “Be a discouraging Christian, please!”

  1. Erin Ashcraft Young says:

    This was wonderful, I lost my father to suicide.
    After Josh’s passing, it has rung so strongly to me to show and tell my love , to my children, the people I care about even more than I do.
    Thank you for writing this and sharing.
    Erin

  2. Lauren Doucher says:

    Michael,
    Thank you for your great piece, I and my husband really appreciated talking to you. I believe my brother-in-law is closer to God than anyone here now and we hope people will remember Brian for who he was and that the darkness and grief we feel in our hearts when we think about what happened will fade away and be replaced with all good memories of the years he spent with us. Thanks again.

  3. Tamara Slack says:

    Michael,

    Awesome post. Your best, I assure you. I see your humble and encouraging heart in it!

    When I read the title, I honestly thought, “I really hope he writes on encouraging the brethren, instead of discouraging. So much pain, suffering, and trials here on this cursed planet, and now to add more conviction?” I almost didn’t read the post because of the title. The Church is filled with sick sinners, not good people and we need love, compassion, grace, mercy…. and encouragement :) (and to be brought to Scripture if in sin).

    I have lived with so much discouragement from people (I’m not discouraged – I mean Christians bring it to me and I have to rely on God’s grace not to grab them by the throat and say “remember the gospel???”). So many people telling me to be convicted over this and be sure I have fruit in this area, etc., etc. that it has forced me to delve into how to treat our brothers and sisters, and how to view myself as a DAUGHTER and a FRIEND of Jesus, that He isn’t upset with me like the elect are lol.

    Learning from such people as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian (HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading him, his blog, and listening to his sermons!!! Especially if someone is dealing with any type of discouragement – pure gospel). And Elise Fitzpatrick – not just for the gals either – she helps us understand things like getting on our kids all the time – is that the gospel or is that the law? And how to view EVERYTHING through the lens of the gospel – waiting in line and frustrated? How can we count on the fact of Jesus’ resurrection to get us through that line and be gracious and kind to the people in front of us who are ungodly, impatient, using hateful speech, etc.

    Anyway, understanding the indicicatives and not just the imperitives is sooooooooooooooooo important (there aren’t enough “o”s in the sooooooo to tell you how important lol). That’s why I almost didn’t read the post: I thought it was all about imperiitives.

    Praise God for His peace that passes all understanding. Praise Him for He is worthy to be praised. Praise Him for bringing your friend into Jesus’ arms with NO condemnation even though He killed himself. All of your friend’s sins were dealt with at the cross and he only knows joy now as there is no sin to battle. Thank you for this post :)

    In His abiding, most gracious love,
    Tamara

  4. David Koven says:

    Amen Brother! Love your heart man. Relate too, to both the situation and the thoughts. I had a weakness and recently, I have corrected it, with His help and His spirit… Good use of scripture. 1 Thess 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

    We must LOVE always. What a concept…

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