Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
“You just gotta love one another!” Christians hear that a lot. It would seem simple. Forgive them and love them. Love another as you love yourself. It doesn’t get easier than that.
Until it isn’t that easy. Until it isn’t easy to begin by loving one’s self; because we experience doubt in ourselves and fear of the future and how do I keep doing what I need to keep doing every day? We think that maybe we aren’t even worthy of loving another person. You know – let my troubles be enough for today and tomorrow will take care of itself.
Then Paul says to be a true brother and sister in Christ. Love each other. Show that love by encouraging one another. We are so good at hiding what bothers us. We are good at hiding the sad things inside. We can all use encouragement and a reminder that Jesus is with us now! We are looking forward to the Kingdom, but we are living in Christ right now and if I can reach out and build you up and take some of the burden from your shoulders then I am showing love.
Paul tells the church that they are already doing a good job at encouraging. He “encourages” them to keep it up, and in fact do it more! We are good at lifting up each other’s burdens. In our own grief and uncertainty we still reach out with love and compassion and empathy. We can take care of each other with the love of Christ.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Questions for Reflection:
- Even though we face our own uncertainties, can we find ways to recognize others in need and relieve the burdens this world puts on them, and encourage and build them up?
- Can you find the strength to share your own burdens so that a good person can walk alongside of you and encourage you to live life with love?
Loving God, give us a spirit of encouragement so that we can lift up our brothers and sisters in their need. Keep us strong in love for one another and help us to show that love with courage.