Of all the people in the world, it is Christians who know the limitations, sins, and weaknesses of mankind. As Christians, we know the value of rebuke, as much as we might dislike giving or receiving it, as the often necessary tool to overcome our weaknesses and grow. But rebuke is not the only, nor should it be the first, tool to help one another overcome sinful tendencies.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 mentions another tool, a much more pleasant one, to help one another grow spiritually.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up

The context of this instruction models this form of service to one another. The “Therefore” of verse 11 follows a short review of the return of Christ where we are taught that the End Times are not so horrific to be a form of final punishment for us, for God has destined us for salvation, not judgement (1 Thessalonians 5:9). “Therefore” let us not be so quick to pour out rebuking wrath, but rather encouraging words to each other as we overcome our present imperfections.

The following verses contain some strong exhortations, but again, in terms of an encouraging plea, not a harsh rebuke.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 “we ask you

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “we urge you

Rebuke has its place, as verse 14 even affirms, but since we are beset with such intense spiritual battles, let us be quick to encourage one another as we build each other up.