So what should you do if you find yourself frustrated with another's slow growth in grace? Well, Scripture does call us to encourage and exhort one another, to confront others in their sin, and point them to the Savior. But God's Word also gives us some ideas on how to do that. You probably aren't surprised that we are not to encourage and challenge one another as holier-than-thou saints looking down our noses at our morally challenged brothers and sisters. So how should we seek to help one another on the way to glory? Two thoughts.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” Yes! I get to admonish, encourage, and help people. I know at least 3 lazy people that need a kick in the pants. I'll get right on that. Well. We do need the family of God to come along side and admonish and encourage and help. But don't miss the last command in this verse. Be patient with all; with the idle, the fainthearted, the weak; with that person you're so frustrated with. Patience is the order of the day. Bear and suffer long with them. Rejoice in even the smallest baby steps in the right direction.
- Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Add some gentleness to your patience and your admonishing will likely be better received and more effective.
I'm not saying don't say anything. No! We need to encourage and challenge one another. But we would also do well to remember how patient God has been with our painfully slow growth in grace. We would do well to remember the gentleness of God toward us. And that, friends, requires humility. So go help your brother or sister. But go humbly, recognizing your own weakness. Go gently. Go understanding that change often doesn't happen overnight. Have patience as you remember God's patience with you.