While we all need to be encouraged, we all don’t need to be encouraged in the same way. Depending upon how we are wired and what is happening, we need something different from those around us.
A church family should commit to relating intentionally and patiently with one another. That is easier said than done because relationships are challenging.
If you haven’t noticed, people are difficult (of which you are one). Since the church is brothers and sisters, we must do our part for the overall family’s health. In these verses, Paul gives specific instructions for ministering to one another in different situations.
14 And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone,but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
Look at these individual phrases and consider how we must interact with one another:
Warn those who are idle
If someone is inactive, that individual is stagnated. Unwilling to move, that believer lacks progress and fruitfulness. In that situation, we ought to warn that person because they disobey Christ’s call on their lives and miss opportunities to bless others.
Comfort the discouraged
Other believers aren’t being lazy; they are just exhausted. Life has a way of tearing us down, and we often lack the motivation to continue because of our current circumstances. With those believers, we must comfort the downtrodden in our attempts to get them back on their feet again.
Help the weak
When an older sibling helps a toddler carry something, he or she isn’t being disrespectful but kind. We have weaker brothers and sisters around us who are spiritual infants. They don’t have the spiritual muscles developed yet to follow Christ in some ways on their own. Instead of criticizing their immaturity, we help them along and watch them grow as the years go by.
Be patient with everyone
It is very ironic that we want everyone to offer us what we are hesitant to give them. Let’s face it, we all struggle. We all mess up. That’s why we need to show patience with each other. It doesn’t mean we give a free pass for sinful choices or careless attitudes, but we seek to create environments in the church where we can be honest when we are struggling. We may be surprised to consider that we might occasionally require the same type of patience with our immaturity.