We all need support and encouragement in life, but so often those we should most count on are those who oppose us the most.
Opposition and discouragement come in two basic forms. The first is a blatant, in-your-face, overt stand against what you believe, do, or who you are. This kind of opposition is so obvious that few people ever struggle to recognize it.
The second kind is deceitful, cunning, and covert, revealed in a passing interest attached to indifference. This is the most common and most devastating from of discouragement.
Imagine waking up to find Satan literally at the foot of your bed. He screams, “Okay. Today I’m going to do everything within my power to distract, discourage, and destroy you. Grrrrrrr.” We’d all enter fight or flight mode depending on our personal courage and strength.
But opposition rarely works like a growling monster in a narrow hallway between you and your goal. It’s more often a little tease of interest followed by subtle words of discouragement or lip-service followed by a lack of genuine attention. Soon you’re discouraged but fail to recognize someone working against you.
Olivia Langdon was a pious Christian woman who married famed author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemons). Twain tried to discourage her from the marriage, arguing that his opposition to her faith would eventually lead her from Christ. After their marriage her faith slowly eroded – not by overt hostility – but by Twain’s lack of support.
A few years later, in a time of great personal crisis, Twain said to her, “Livy, if it comforts you to lean on the Christian faith, do so.” Her sorrowful answer was, “I can’t, Youth” (her favorite designation for her husband); “I haven’t any.” She died a discouraged atheist.
Someone may not specifically disagree or argue with you, but by a simple lack of genuine interest and participation with you, you experience opposition; but interest and support from true and godly friends will enable you to fulfill your goals and desires.