Romans 14:19. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Romans 15:1-2. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
Finding Problems in Others
One thing that people are good at is finding problems in other people. One thing we are not good at is finding problems in ourself. It takes the Spirit of God giving us a calm reassurance, to look honestly at ourselves. When we do that, we soon see that we have problems; albeit, different ones than we see in others. At the same time, what we often fail to see is the good in others, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. In any given church, there are going to be people that are good at different things and not so good at others. What makes an efficient church, or body, is when the parts and pieces are looking out for each other. When I see a weakness or fault in a brother or sister, I am there to help make up the difference and get them through a trial or problem, rather than playing one of “Job’s Friends”, and telling them every sin in their life and not helping them in the slightest.
You Cannot Fix Everyone
You cannot fix everyone, no matter how much you try. You might as well face it. Some people don’t want help; the reality is, your help is probably not as great as you think it is. You probably don’t have the answer to most people’s problems as much as you think you do. We try to fix our spouse or fix our siblings. We try to fix people at work. We try to fix people at church. You are not as wise as you think you are. There are people who have obvious problems. That does not mean you can change them with your wisdom. There is a reason they got where they are at, and it is not likely that your couple of minutes of wisdom is going to change that. I learned that one through experience.
Edification is the Best Fix
Edification is the best way to go about helping someone. That will not fail if done in love.
EDIFICA’TION, n. [L. oedificatio. See Edify.]. 1. A building up, in a moral and religious sense; instruction; improvement and progress of the mind, in knowledge, in morals, or in faith and holiness. – Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Building up a brother or sister can be done many ways. When someone is having a problem, you telling them they have a problem, and laying it out in detail, is not going to help. They probably already know what the issue is. Job had three “friends” that tried to do this for what was likely weeks or months on end. They did not edify him in the slightest. They really did not understand what was going on in his life, though they thought for sure they knew. Instead of trying to “fix” Job’s problem, they should have just tried to help him with his infirmities. They should have tried to make him comfortable, forget his problems, and take some of the burden off of him. That is true edification. They could not fix Job’s problem because they really had no idea what God was doing in his life. The same is true of most of our brothers and sister in church. We have no idea what God is taking them through. We just need to be a friend and an edifier. Prayer also works when you don’t know what God is doing.
Following Peace Rather Than Arguing
Following after peace is another way we can help to encourage others. If we are arguing with someone and getting on their case about their problems, we are not helping them. This goes especially for husbands/wives, brothers/sisters and parents/children. It takes a true walk with God to deal gently with a spouse, sibling, or child. If someone is stressed out, you railing back at them when they say something untoward is not going to help. Instead, seek after peace. Say something encouraging. You do not have to win. Christ did not try to win. He tried to bring peace and not a sword. When Christ was reviled, he reviled not again.
We All Have Strengths and Weaknesses
God gave you strengths in some areas where others have weaknesses. Try to make up for their weaknesses in a manner such that no one notices. When you break an arm, the other arm grabs it and holds it to support it. It is natural for our body to help other parts of our body when they are injured. That is what a church should do. We should cover up for one another’s faults, so that a lost and dying world does not even notice the bad things in the church, when they walk through the door. They should think everyone are angels, despite the fact we are all sinners. All they should see is our love and care one for another. As my Pastor says, “That is just being a Christian” — doing for others and helping out when people need help.
True Edification is Not Self-Pleasing
You should be looking to become stronger as a Christian. You can tell that a Christian has grown when he is often helping others, to the point they start to neglect their own vineyard. They don’t care about themselves. They just want to be a blessing. True edification is not self-pleasing. It is done because of a love for the Lord. It has come from the Spirit of God driving you. The strength must come from the Lord. That is what makes a strong Christian. When we seek to please others, we seek to please the Lord. There is a right time and a wrong time to deal with problems in people’s lives. Having wisdom when to help is important. Let’s look to the Lord for when and how to help edify others and strengthen them. He is the only one who truly knows how the body of Christ is framed together and who needs help.