Good friends are like good sisters…they know when to hold you up and they know when to hold you back.
I love my granddaughters. The girls may be two years apart in age but they are close as can be in everything else. They really watch out for each other and care about how the other one is doing. Yes, they have their little squabbles from time to time like any siblings do, but for the most part they are inseparable and always have each other’s back. If one is feeling down, the other tries to cheer her up. Yes, they watch out for one another. If one leaves the room the other will not let Pawpaw take goodies off the other’s plate. Not only do they hold Pawpaw accountable but they hold one another accountable too. If one starts to get out of line a little bit, the other will point out that the behavior in question is not how we are supposed to act in this family. They do their best to keep the other one from going too far. They hold each other up and they hold each other back.
I think that is what Paul was trying to convey in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” My granddaughters are already getting pretty good at applying some of the basic principles in that verse. I think that sometimes in the Church it is easy for us to fall short in this area. We don’t mind holding somebody up when they are feeling down. It can be fairly easy for us to show compassion and comfort the fainthearted. But sometimes we are reluctant to hold people back and keep them from going too far. We shrink back from warning those who are unruly.
Perhaps this is because we are worried about having our own failings and flaws pointed out to us. No one likes to be called judgmental or accused of having a “holier than thou” attitude. That’s why we must discover whatever obstacle there is that prevents us from obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:14. Then we can work on removing that obstacle. If there truly is a log in our eye, then yes, we must remove it so that we can speak without fear of condemnation to our brothers or sisters (see Luke 6:41-42 and Matthew 18:15 ). But please understand, log or not, condemnation is always likely to come when you speak to someone who is out of line. If you try to hold someone back from continuing with a behavior that is outside of God’s will you will likely face resistance and condemnation. You may be called judgmental. Speak anyway. Speak with the patience and love that only Christ can give. You are called to do it. You are not only to hold your brothers and sisters up, but you are to hold them back. Remember, anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.