“Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NKJV).
God is undoubtedly the Great Comforter. He is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. God always seeks to comfort His children in all their tribulations and trials.
The Word of God offers us a great comfort and hope when we are going through tough times and situations.
Paul testifies to this truth.
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (NKJV).
The Holy Spirit abides in and with the born-again believers to comfort and strengthen our hearts so that our hearts may not be overwhelmed with much grief or sorrow as a result of a sudden disappointment and failure, a shocking medical report, unexpected death of loved ones, a sudden disaster, tribulation or persecution we may face in this evil world.
The Scripture reveals and testifies that the early believers walked in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (NKJV).
God surely wants all His children today to walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and to minister comfort to one another.
The Scripture clearly teaches that one of the primary purposes why God comforts us in all our tribulations and trials is to adequately equip us to comfort others in their times of trials, tribulations, or sufferings.
2 Corinthians 1:
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (NKJV).
In addition to the great comfort that God’s Word and Spirit offer to believers in trials or tribulations, God also wants you to be His voice and agent of comfort to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in their time of sufferings, trials or tribulations.
God wants you to speak to edify, exhort, encourage, strengthen and comfort the fainthearted.
1 Corinthians 14:
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.
3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (NKJV).
The truth is that we all have a natural inclination or tendency to blame people for their sufferings, miseries or tribulations. Like Job’s friends, we are often too quick to judge, criticize and condemn our friends and brethren in Christ in their times of sufferings, miseries, trials or tribulations.
Most times we unjustly despise or disdain our fellow believers experiencing or going through tough times and situations, seeing them as being sinful, unfaithful to God, unwise, spiritually immature, undiscerning and weak, or slothful in fasting and prayer.
That may not always be the case as seen in the case of Job!
However, even if that is the case, God does not expect you to inflict more suffering or pains on your fellow believers who are in pains or suffering by judging or condemning them. On the contrary, God expects you to comfort them by showing them kindness, mercy and favour.
14 To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty. (NKJV).
Apostle Paul rebuked and corrected the Church at Corinth when they dealt severely with a brother who was overtaken in a trespass. He further instructed them to forgive and comfort the brother by reaffirming their love to him.
2 Corinthians 2:
6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,
7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.
8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. (NKJV).
This is a practical lesson and instruction for us today!
We must be careful today about the severe punishment or judgement we mete out to our fellow believers when they fall into sin.
Many believers in our churches today have been completely drowned in, swallowed up or overwhelmed with much sorrow because of the severe critical remarks, condemnation, judgement or punishment we mete out to them when they were overtaken in trespasses.
The Scripture instructs and warns:
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (NKJV).
1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
5 “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (NKJV).
12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (NKJV).
When God eventually showed up to vindicate and restore Job, who though blameless and upright, yet he was afflicted; God was very angry with Job’s friends who instead of showing him kindness and ministering comfort to him in his suffering and tribulation were only judging and condemning him.
7 And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. (NKJV).
Beloved, God has not given you the ministry of accusation and condemnation, but that of exhortation and consolation towards the afflicted and fainthearted.
Learn from the blunder of Job’s friends and be very careful how you treat or deal with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in their time of sufferings, trials or tribulations.
Rather than despising or condemning them, the Scripture commands:
1 Thessalonians 5:
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.
15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. (NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I renounce today my ministry of accusation and condemnation. But, I receive today the grace and wisdom to function effectively in the ministry of exhortation and consolation towards the afflicted and fainthearted, in Jesus’ name. Amen.