I have heard and read some state, “We should only be encouraging to one another.” Radio stations such as KLove make it part of their slogan. What does it mean to be encouraging?
The dictionary defines encouragement as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” In our case as Christians, we offer hope in Christ Jesus. Romans 15:13 reads, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
As to encouragement, we find these verses:
Hebrews 10:25- “Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Ephesians 4:29- “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Proverbs 30:5- “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
So we are to support, give hope to, and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But it doesn’t end just start with or end with offering encouraging words. If one is living in blatant sin or in false teaching, or worse spreading false teaching, we are also to correct that one and call them to repentance.
Proverbs 12:1- “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
2 Timothy 3:16,17- “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
Jude 3- “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
So which are we to do? The answer is clear, we are to do both. We are to be loving, caring compassionate and at the same time we are to contend, be concise and faithful to the right Word of God. Understand however, that when we do this, as we truly and faithfully do these things, we will in most likelihood be faced with opposition, ridicule, mocking and persecution.
But we must stand for the Word of God. We must stand faithfully and boldly for the truth of Scripture. We must contend, which is a word of assertive action, and lie down while God’s truth is maligned or distorted.
If we truly love someone, as we are called to do in regards to all people, we will love them enough to tell them the truth; to not idly sit by while they wallow in their sin or rest in their indifference. Ephesians 4:15 states how out posture should be, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
Love God, love your fellow man, and love them enough to be willing to lose them that they might gain Christ. Love God and be found faithful.