Our scripture this morning is 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22.
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Paul closes this letter with instructions for faithful living. There is everyday wisdom and eternal value in this guidance. We are to get along with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but that also means watching over each other in love.
We often think minding our own business and not becoming involved in the details of others lives is the best policy. Indeed, we’ve been taught “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged” (Matthew 7:1), but that doesn’t mean ignoring or accepting backsliding because it’s “not our concern”. Cain tried to use that excuse – “am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) – under different circumstances, but the lesson is the same.
The greatest commandment, to love God and love one another as ourselves, requires us to be aware of each other’s needs, including coming to their aid when sin encroaches on their lives. We are not called to judge them but to assist through the love and the instructions Jesus gave us. Meddling in another’s affairs because we think we know better is not what we are called to do, but reminding them that God knows better is a task for all of us.
Heavenly Father, help us to pay attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters and to be there for them in love. Bless us to be a blessing to others, sharing the joy of a connection to You with all the world. Amen.