“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV)
How are you today? I hope you are all well. Last week, I wrote about encouraging one another by role modeling love, kindness, and good works. (You can read that post here.) This week’s post, also talks about encouraging each other, however it is for a little bit different reason.
The words in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 also call us to encourage one another. Yet, I think, this is encouragement is meant to keep each other on the right path and to lift our spirits when we are down.
In this verse, St. Paul was kind of telling the Thessalonians that he knew they were encouraging each other and they should keep up the good work. You may also be one to encourage others and if that is so, great job! Keep up the good work!
Yet, even if we already do encourage others, I think it these words are good to read and think about at times. We all need encouragement at times. And, sometimes we try to encourage others with the greatest of intentions, but we don’t encourage well.
Yes, I think there are pitfalls in the intention of encouragement. Let’s look at how we encourage or what we encourage. For example, when someone says, “You do what feels good to you. Don’t worry about what anyone else says.” Is this good encouragement? I would humbly submit that when the Bible usually encourages us NOT to go with our own feelings, are we being helpful in encouraging each other to go with our own feelings? Am I being too nitpicky? Or, should that be rephrased to better suit God’s words and meaning in the Bible?
There was a time when I wouldn’t even have thought about it. Yet, I believe that words are powerful and shape what we think and how we feel. And, there is a difference between generally saying, “do what feels good to you” and in saying, “do what you feel God is calling you to do.” This may seem trifle and petty, but I do think that these subtleties in what we say have resulted in a society that feels entitled. These subtleties have changed our beliefs, and us slowly, over time. I don’t believe we are truly helping or encouraging others, if we “encourage” them to do something that isn’t in accordance with God’s Word.
It also may be unhealthy to promise someone the world, when you have no business making the promise or have no idea whether or not it will come true. I can remember being estranged from someone and well-meaning people would say that this person would come back to me. I was upset by those words, because the people who said them had no way of telling whether the person would come back to me or not. My heart knew that they were just hopeful words, but nothing concrete. I wanted something concrete that I could hold onto. It meant more to me to have someone comfort me with truth, than hopes.
I don’t say all this to discourage you from encouraging others. I don’t want you to think that, “Oh, I better not say anything, because I might say something wrong.” I say this just for thoughtful reflection. Encouraging others is what we are called to do. So, let us pray that we all take the opportunity to encourage others and do it in a godly and Biblical way.
Thank you for loving us. Thank you for knowing that we need to be encouraged. Thank you for your instruction. Help us to take the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to heart. Help us to encourage one another in faith, hope, and love, especially in trying times. Yet, help us to do so with words that align with your holy words out of love and compassion and obedience to you. Help us to be mindful in our words and the message we are actually sending each other. Let our encouragement be something that glorifies you and shows us to be your people. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflection questions for 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (KJV):
*What does 1 Thessalonians 5:11 mean to me?
*Do I encourage others?
*If I encourage others, do I do so with words that align with God’s words?
*Can well meaning encouragement be wrong if the words aren’t right?
*What can I do to better fulfill the calling in 1 Thessalonians 5:11?
Now, it is your turn.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.