Friday, 27 October 2017
Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:15
The Greek begins with “and,” not “yet.” There is no thought of bitterness or unkindness in Paul’s words already spoken, or which he now writes. Instead, this is a saving measure towards the wayward brother. Using the proper conjunction “and” shows that not keeping company with this person is actually an act of brotherly kindness. It is intended to correct his incorrect conduct and hopefully bring him back to proper conduct.
Understanding this, Paul says, “And do not count him as an enemy.” What is occurring here is Christian discipline, not warfare. This person is not holding to sound doctrine. He is misusing Scripture, or has been misled concerning Scripture, and has come to faulty conclusions about an issue. This, in turn, has led him to lollygag around and not working. Such a person isn’t to be treated as an enemy, but rather as a misdirected brother. In order to correct him, he is not to be associated with, but at the same time, he isn’t to be treated like someone who is actually hostile to the faith. Rather, we are to “admonish him as a brother.”
Admonish means to correct, counsel, or exhort. We are to urge such people to turn and look for God’s best in their lives. Rapture date-setting doesn’t qualify. One misses out on life when they spend all their time speculating about the next prophetic event to occur. Proper work habits are interrupted, family relationships suffer, and other people are brought into the same inane paths of futile speculation. None of this should occur, and such people are to be properly admonished, as brothers, to give up this avenue and pursue sound doctrine.
Life application: With the UNFRIEND option on Facebook, it is pretty easy to just cut people off without a care. This is necessary at times, but it can also be harmful as well. We need to ensure that we only take such measures towards other Christians if they are truly disruptive, or passing on heretical ideas. Otherwise, we should just admonish them to pursue right doctrine, and avoid otherwise commenting on their incorrect posts about the next rapture date or “sign in the sky.” Always attempt to use Christian courtesy when dealing with your fellow brethren.
Heavenly Father, in our modern world, we have the added burden of the dreaded “unfriend” option on social media. When it is used against us, it can bring about sad feelings of rejection. Understanding this, help us to be as courteous as possible to others before using this option ourselves. Help us to not divide Christian fellowship over minutiae, but instead to reserve that option for the truly offensive people who come into our lives. Help us to strive for peace to the greatest extent possible as we live in Your presence. Amen.