1Th 5:14-15 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
After all the instruction that Paul has given to the church at Thessalonica, there is an immediacy in the counsel that he is giving here. Certainly, we live in such a time that there is an urgent need for us to recognize and practice the word that God has left us as written in scripture and in our hearts (Heb 8:10). We need to be diligent about encouraging our brothers and sisters to do the right and necessary things that the Lord has set before us.
Often, we are uncomfortable with offering a reproof (warn) to those who are spiritually insubordinate (unruly) to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Our discomfort should not make us short-tempered or overbearing. The Greek word rendered as “warn” means to “caution or reprove gently (see Strong’s).” In other words, we are to approach others with the same love and concern that we would want to be approached with. The thing we should not do is ignore the unruliness for the sake of the individual and the church.
We are also to be kindly affectioned to the faint-hearted (feebleminded). This does not refer to an individual’s mental capacity, but rather to their strength of spirit. Each of us has faced times in our lives when we really were not sure if we could go on. The trials of life had seemed to grow to overwhelming proportions and we were ready to give up. Then some brother or sister came and comforted us with their example of faith or a reminder of God’s promises. They came in our time of weakness and helped us shoulder our burden as though it were their own (Gal 6:2).
It is true that our determination to follow Paul’s example here may not always be met with appreciation. Sometimes we may be ignored or even treated as an enemy. We must be patient and willing to endure this for a season, regardless of who it is coming from. The instruction is to have patience for all men; for those who should know better and for those who do not.
We have a responsibility before God to be sure we do not render evil for evil. The word “evil” here literally means “worthless.” With that in mind, it is not just talking about doing physical harm to someone. As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we are expected to be like Him. No matter how others respond to us, we are not to offer a worthless (carnal) response to them: this applies to any man.
We should always pursue that which is good. Knowing to do good and then not doing it is a sin (Jas 4:17). Therefore, failing to follow the instruction in these verses is sin (evil, worthless). We are to follow this counsel with each other, and with all whom we come in contact. This instruction does not come with a disclaimer. There is no clause that says we can pick and choose. Always pursue that which is good (upright, honorable) with the brethren and with everyone else with whom we come in contact.
May God bless us to walk in the truth of Jesus Christ before all men!