Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

(2 Thess. 3:15)

How many times have we heard people say, “You can’t judge me; it’s not your place”? I remember someone communicating that they believed in God but didn’t want anything to do with the church because Christians were always telling them what not to do. Unfortunately, we all know that at times Christians respond not in love but in anger or other negative emotions. God wants us to think through how we address things with believers and nonbelievers, being mindful of our words.

After addressing the issue, the Thessalonians struggled to change their ways, especially since others around them still influenced them in a negative way. Paul took time to instruct them on what to do in these situations. Paul exhorted that they should not consider those around them as enemies, but lead their community as if they were already one within the church. This piece of advice is significant because those within the church knew that they had the grounds to call out fellow believers, but Paul told them to lead their community to something better.

As Christians, we can choose to live in a well-insulated bubble, cutting off every “bad thing” in our lives. But we must ask if we are choosing to lead in every opportunity that God gives us?

Strive to mimic Christ’s example when leading others.

Maggie Slusher is a young pastor who is passionate about transformational spiritual formation—at every age and season in life. She takes any chance to get outdoors.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.