One of the most strange convictions I’ve ever read of happened during the siege of Ladysmith a small village in South Africa. A civilian was arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for the crime of discouragement!
He would simply go along the lines and say discouraging words to the men on duty. He never took up arms for the enemy, he was not disloyal to his countrymen, he performed no intentional act of sabotage, nor was he accused of spying or disclosing secrets to the enemy. He was just a discourager—and at a critical time. The fortunes of the defense forces, and of the town hung in the balance. The court-martial determined it a crime to speak disheartening words in an hour such as that.
To be honest it is. Discouragement has a real effect on each of us. Unfortunately, there are many more willing to be critical and tear down than be constructive and build up with their words. While we can control our speech to others, we must be prepared to deal with discouragement in the world around us. Jeremiah sets us a great example of how to carry on, even in the most discouraging environment!