We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. - 1 Thessalonians 5:14
The paragraph that contains the verse we are using here begins with, “Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you” (v12). Then in verse 14 he gives the ways that we are to respect others among us; warning, encouraging, helping and being patient. This is some powerful instruction.
One of the primary factors to being patient with others is respecting who they are. If I see others as being placed on the earth for my convenience and to make life simpler for me, then I am going to run into relationship problems and I will be impatient with them. However, when I see others as an opportunity to bless and serve I am going to suffer long with their shortcomings and work hard to help them become more effective in their life.
Being patient with everyone is not an easy task. It seems that there is always at least one person in my life who tries my patience. In fact, I have found that the more I serve others the more people there are in my life who try my patience. It is those people that this passage is addressing.
Having respect for others has many facets. Paul is addressing some them in this passage. He tells us to warn the idle. Warn them of what? They need to be reminded of the consequences of being irresponsible with their time. That doesn’t mean we are to cut them off until they learn, but it does mean that we are not to enable them to be irresponsible.
There are also those among us who are timid, and some are weak. It can be a bit wearisome trying to help them see their potential and help them see God’s plan for their life, but we are called to be patient with everyone, warning them, encouraging them, helping them.
Prayer: Father, there are times that I find it difficult to be patient with others. Help me to keep in mind that I am called to serve others. In Jesus name, amen.
Principle: The ways we are to respect others among us; warning, encouraging, helping and being patient.
Affirmation: I show my respect for others by warning them when they are in grievous error; encouraging them when they are weak; helping them when they fall and being patient with them in all things.
Reflection: This devotion speaks of many facets, or many ways of respecting others. Reflect on some of those and look inside yourself to see how your respond to people who try your patience. Give it some thought.
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