“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
Many of us, in the church today, fail to interact with our fellow church members. As I’ve mentioned before, we make in our aim to get in and out of worship in as little time as possible. And, as a result, we don’t truly get to know those who surround us in the pews each week.
This can lead to false impressions. From the outside, it seems that everyone else has it all together. We, then, compare that impression with own circumstances, which we know to be a mess.
However, when we truly get to know our fellow believers, we find that their lives are a mess as well. We find that they too have problems and difficult circumstances in life. And this can affect us in one of two ways.
For some, it’s further reason to separate themselves from the body of Christ. Because their lives are messy, we assume that the faith professed by these people is either weak or non-existent. And it turns us off to the Church, and perhaps to the Christian faith.
However, as believers, this reality should create within us a desire to minister to our fellow believers. It should create within us a desire to bless our fellow believers. And, in the passage above, Paul told the Thessalonians how they could do just that.
He points out that some, in the church, are prone to idleness. They’re undisciplined and disorderly. They’re slothful and inactive. And Paul encourages the church to admonish, or to warn, such people.
Others are fainthearted. They are disheartened or feebleminded. And they were to encourage such people.
Still others are weak. And, while this word can refer to those who are without strength or feeble when it comes to the body, or those who are weak in mind, in power, or in significance, they were to be helped. The body of Christ was to do what it could to assist them.
The last phrase, I believe, is the key. Paul tells the church to be patient with them all. Whatever their struggle, whatever their weakness, the church was to be enduring or long-suffering with them.
In the same way, as we encounter those in the body of Christ with particular needs or flaws, we’re to bear with them. We are to minister to them in their need by offering both correction and encouragement. And we’re to suffer alongside them as long as the need persists.