By Bai Yang
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God” (1John 4:7).
Although we know that the Lord taught us to love each other so that we can use our living out to bear witness to God, yet many preachers and leaders in the Lord have such kind of distress: When we help and support brothers and sisters, seeing that they don’t attend meetings for many reasons and fall into a negative and weak condition and that they still cannot summon up their strength though we help them many times, then we don’t know what to do and even sometimes we will be passive and weak because of this. Sometimes, when we help brothers and sisters, we unwittingly stand higher and lecture them, which makes brothers and sisters disgusted. Finally, our help doesn’t achieve any results. Sometimes, after we help brothers and sisters, we always want them to look up to us. Because we have our own motives and goals, we can’t resolve the practical problems of brothers and sisters no matter how we help them. Thus, many brothers and sisters feel confused about how to resolve these problems, and about which paths they should take when they help and support brothers and sisters. Regarding these questions, let me share my gains with you.
First, We Should Support and Help Brothers and Sisters Based on Their Different Statures
Each of us is different in stature, caliber, the ability to understand, the circumstance of our life, and so on. So, we should support and help brothers and sisters according to their different statures rather than have any unreasonable expectations for them. For example, some brothers and sisters cannot perform service in the church due to many family entanglements, so we shouldn’t force them to do things against their will. Instead, we should treat them according to their statures and allow them to make their own choice. Despite this, we can fellowship with them about the meaning and value of working for the church. When they understand, they will be happy and willing to work for the church. For those who have believed in the Lord for a long time, when they meet difficulties and become weak, we should not ask them to become strong at once but should rely on love to fellowship with them, give them the time to seek and depend on the Lord and lead them to understand the Lord’s will. For those who are often negative, if no matter how we fellowship with them, they are still like this and even resist and dislike our fellowship, we should not insist on fellowshiping then, instead, we can pray for them and give them time to calm down, then find another opportunity to fellowship with them.
In a word, we should treat each one according to their actual situations, and enter into some relevant principles based on each one’s background and situation. Such as, what is an appropriate way to help new believers? How should we treat the believers whofor a long time and but live in passiveness? We should not cut at one stroke in helping them. If we insist on asking brothers and sisters to do as we wish and to achieve the stature of us, the result will be the opposite and they will become passive easily.
God says: “God treats each and every person like this: Some people may be of immature stature, or they may be young, or may not have believed in God for very long and God may see that the essence of their nature is not bad or malicious, only that they are somewhat ignorant or lacking in caliber, or that they have been infected too much by society. They may not yet have entered into the reality of the truth and may not yet have crossed the threshold, and so it will be difficult for them to avoid doing ignorant things or expressing their ignorance. But God doesn’t see these things—He sees only that person’s heart. If they have resolved to enter into the reality of the truth, they take this correct direction and have this objective, then God watches them, waits for them and gives them the time and the opportunities to allow them to enter. It is not that God dismisses any redeeming feature they may have or beats them the moment they make a mistake. God has never treated anyone that way, right?” God treats us according to our statures and gives us enough time waiting for us to turn ourselves around. God doesn’t ask us to meet His requirements at once and neither does He give us a burden too heavy to bear. We are created beings. We should stand in the same position as brothers and sisters and show more consideration for them, put ourselves in their shoes, and not to force them to do something against their will; we should do in whatever way they can accept. When brothers and sisters see that we really want to help them but not make fun of them, and see that what we do is thinking about their life, they will surely get close to us. In this way, our helping and supporting them will be blessed by God.
Second, We Should Stand on an Equal Footing to Support and Help Brothers and Sisters
When we see brothers and sisters with difficulties, we should not despise and denigrate them, much less take a lecturing tone with them. We should stand on an equal footing, be considerate toward the condition of brothers and sisters, and say some heartfelt words to them.
Thehas said: “But you shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that does serve” (Luck 22:26). God does His work with the greatest patience and love. God requires us to let go of ourselves when we serve and help others and to treat brothers and sisters with patience and love. So, no matter when, we should stand in an equal footing with brothers and sisters to do things or have a heart-to-heart with them, just like chatting with our friends and relatives. If we do so, brothers and sisters are willing to speak with us from their hearts. When we learn what practical difficulties they meet and then fellowship with them about God’s will according to their difficulties, we will help brothers and sisters. For instance, when they encounter difficulties in their work, we can fellowship about how to rely on God and look to God and talk more about our own experience with them; when they fall ill, we can encourage them to have faith in God, and tell them what God’s will is during the refinement, so that they don’t misunderstand God or blame God and can bear witness to God, and so on. After brothers and sisters hear our fellowship, they will have the path of practice and know the Lord’s will. Only then can we succeed in helping and supporting them.
Third, We Should Set Our Intents Right and Help Brothers and Sisters With Sincerity
Although we usually support and help brothers and sisters, unavoidably, we will still mix in our personal motives and goals during the course of helping and supporting them. If we don’t get rid of these mixtures, it will be difficult for us to act in harmony with the Lord’s will and get His approval and blessings.
For example, when we help and support the brothers and sisters who are weak in spirit, we talk about some profound biblical theories or the experiences of our abandoning and expending and suffering to show off and bear witness to ourselves. After hearing our fellowship, brothers and sisters may have some drive at that moment and even look up to us, and for this reason we get pleased with ourselves and enjoy being worshiped by them. This kind of help and support is mixed with impurities and is sinning. For it is not simply helping and supplying brothers and sisters with a loving heart according to the Lord’s teachings, much less is it exalting and testifying God and in order to bring them before God. Moreover, such help and support can make brothers and sisters be energized only for a while, and they will still be passive when encountering difficulties again. Because they neither get any supply in their spirit and nor know the Lord’s will, they cannot be strong in their spiritual life. God is the truth, the way and the life. Only God can make us strong in our spirit. God has said these words: “You must not have the slightest corrupt disposition of selfishness or arrogance, otherwise My work on you will not progress. You must understand clearly that whether men fall or stand strong is not because of them, it is because of Me.” So, when we help and support brothers and sisters, we should first put our heart right, honor God as the greatest, and help them with a heart of sincerity and a heart of satisfying God.
The Lord Jesus said: “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). The reason why brothers and sisters are weak is because they are thirsty in their spirit and cannot receive any supply. This requires us to talk more about God’s intention to save mankind, to lift God up, and testify for Him more during our fellowship, so that we can bring brothers and sisters before God. When brothers and sisters come to understand God’s will, their spirit will naturally not be weak.
The three aspects of supporting and helping brothers and sisters above are all effective ways of practice. I hope they can benefit you a lot. May the Lord bless and guide us in service to Him.