To Encourage or To Exhort
“…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed recently, I came across a post that was admonishing believers for judging other believers. The post stated we are only to uplift, support, and encourage, and to only speak positive to those around us. If we do anything contrary to that, it pushes believers away from Christ. While I am comforted to know this person encourages others around her, as believers we are to do more than just encourage. We would not encourage a dear friend to continue if we knew she was in unrepentant sin, would we? We would not encourage a sister when she twists scripture for her own glory, would we? We certainly would not encourage a believer to do things contrary to God’s word.
Our sanctification to be more Christ-like is a life-long process on this side of heaven. The Lord may very well choose a friend to reprove, exhort, or rebuke us. I know it’s happened to me, and I know I have also exhorted others. Exhort means to strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something. That could mean urging a fellow sister to refrain from sin, or exhorting each other so we are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrew 3:13). Sometimes we need a sister in Christ to show us something we might be blinded to. To show us where we may be in error, or where we have gotten things twisted. Calling out another sister that is in unrepentant sin, based on the fact that you yourself do not deal with the same sin, is a form of encouragement and one of the greatest acts of love.
Righteous judgement (Matthew 7:1-5) by way of reproof, rebuke, and exhortation is biblical. 2 Timothy 4:2. We must do it lovingly, sisters, but we must do it as we run this race to the Father, together!
Father, as a believer I am to stand with other believers and not only encourage them, but to also exhort them in righteous living. I pray that You will guide me to Your Word as I do this, and examine my own heart before approaching a fellow sister.
Let’s encourage AND exhort those around us. Don’t watch, willingly, as you see a sister going down the wrong path for fear that you are not being positive. Reach out and pull her back if you have to, and side by side walk the narrow road, righteously.