1 Thessalonians 5:11 - Coaching not Criticizing
1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." (ESV)
One night I remember my youngest daughter helping me put postage stamps on envelopes. What I recall most, though, when I think about that situation was my insistence that my daughter place the stamp squarely on the envelope. I'd demonstrate how to do it, and then sit back and watch her try to follow my instructions. I'd then "coach" her while she was trying to duplicate what I had just taught her.
I thought I was teaching her a valuable lesson about paying attention to detail. What I'm afraid I might have been teaching her, though, was that she was a failure in my eyes, which was the furthest thing from my mind.
But when I look back at that whole situation............still to this day...........I wince slightly. Because I recall now how hard she was trying to please me by trying to do it my way............and she just didn't have the motor coordination at her age to pull it off. My "coaching" was, in hindsight, probably seen by her as putting her down when she was going flat out trying to do her best. That must have hurt her, and today when I recall it..............the memories of it still sting me.
Putting postage stamps on envelopes, on the grand scale of things, is probably at the lowest end of the scale in importance. I wasn't teaching my daughter how to put stamps on envelopes............I was teaching her that she wasn't measuring up...............she wasn't okay......she wasn't good enough........and, maybe, that I might not love her because she couldn't live up to my expectations.
The truth is quite the opposite of that...........I love her beyond words, but I sure wasn't sending that message that night.
When I read tonight's scripture I recalled that incident because it was one of those watershed events in my life when I learned a valuable lesson. And I firmly believe my Teacher was the Lord.
Since then, I've tried my best to encourage those I love.........especially them because they are closest to me. But I'm also very keenly aware of others who may cross my path in life.
It takes so little to encourage rather than criticize, and I have to admit that I feel a whole lot better about myself when I see someone respond to a word of encouragement with a smile..............The truth is we are all bombarded with criticism from the world out there.
Paul admonishes us in the scripture above to encourage one another and build one another up. He also pays a huge compliment in my opinion to the Family who lives in Thessalonica...........in effect, "walking the talk" by doing precisely what he said they should be doing.
Jesus is the perfect model for the way it should be done. There are several examples in His Word where He showed compassion for others and encouraged them. I just have to make sure I remember those examples when I try to "coach" another person.........I must reach out to them in love............with compassion............just as my Lord has done for me.
Love in Jesus,
"But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." (1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This devotional was originally posted on CCI-Devo - Daily Group Devotionals on January 2, 2004 in post #444. It was written by Jim Ross, a former United Pentecostal Church member, who attends Christian Challenge International, the sponsor of the devotional group. The devotional is the copyright of Jim Ross and is reprinted on this site by permission.
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August 23, 1997
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