Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-18
Focusing on verse 11, specifically “just as in fact you are doing.” This means that their church during that time was already “encouraging and building each other up.” A good question may be, “Am I encouraging or building someone up?” “Am I being a source of encouragement?” An excellent way to encourage a dear brother and sister is to show up every Sunday.
In our Fresh Encounter series, we are being encouraged to share our testimonies, teaching us to confess our sins, repent, and embrace restoration. One of the good biblical practices they taught was public confession and repentance (in a small group context).
The Struggle: But there seems to be a struggle. First, we are shy or ashamed of what we have done. Second, unaware of feelings and mix up our intentions; third, we do not see feelings as a signal indicator in order to sustain a relationship (e.g., Feelings are like a fuse; it tells us that there is something wrong with the circuit). Fourth, we repress or suppress and ignore these feelings.
The Means: When the early church was experiencing persecutions, injustices, and oppression, they were not only struggling physically and spiritually but also emotionally, mentally, and holistically. I said “holistically” because our emotions have a physiological aspect. It is what psychologists and medical personnel call “psychosomatic” – a physical symptom caused by an emotional or psychological condition.
The method to control our feelings is to be aware of them and to experience them consciously. Then we can control the behavior flowing from the feelings.
- Anger – we want to fight physically or verbally (Breathe faster; our heart beats faster; sensation of heat)
- Fearful – have the desire to run away (The mouth becomes dry; feels cold; palms are sweating
- Hurt – we withdraw or regress (Crying, expressing pain through tears)
- Trust – comfortable with someone (Willing to be vulnerable; openness)
- Love – warm glow in our body (Love is a fulfillment of all these other feelings.)
The Value: The passage encourages and sets a standard for communal accountability. There is a value in sharing our feelings, struggles, and emotions with one another. Read verses 12-18. Deep communication makes our ministry effective because it enables us to deal with our feelings before we attempt to minister to others’ feelings, as stated by G. Niklas.
Apostle Paul today (sermon today) and Apostle Peter last week (sermon last week) show us that emotions, feelings, and mental well-being are essential aspects of a Christian community, both individual and church life. You may ask, “where is Jesus in here?” First, last week, we explored that there is hope in Christ. Christ redeemed these parts of our life as well. Lastly, Christ himself as fully God-Man has heart, soul, and mind (next week’s topic).
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
August 21, 2022