One of the first Bible verses I ever committed to memory is:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
In my favorite book of the Bible, this command to be courageous is repeated again and again.
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9
It seems pretty clear to me: God wants His people to be a courageous family.
Life is hard. And frankly, people are mean.
Not all people. And not all the time. But far too often our critical spirits, judgmental eyes, and sharp tongues, are weapons of discouragement.
And if God's plan is for us to courageously live the lives He has given us, then when I discourage someone I am standing in direct opposition to what God is doing in someone else's life. I am picking a fight with God!
To discourage is to steal someone's courage.
Let God judge hearts. Let God discipline His children. Let God protect His plans.
Let us concentrate on being courage givers. Not courage thieves.