Have you ever worked for a company, or maybe at school, where you have had one of those team building exercises to see how well everyone can work together to support each other? Exercises such as building a bridge, or the tallest tower, but only using card or newspaper and cello tape. The idea is to see how much strength the structure has to be able to support something on top.
A bridge uses tension and compression to keep a balance and to stop it from collapsing. These two opposite forces work together to create a balance in a bridge’s structure. If compression (which is the force pushing down on it) becomes too much or the tension (which is the force pulling on it) overwhelms then the bridge will buckle.
We support each other
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Paul is encouraging the church in Thessalonica…and my do they need encouraging! This church is far from perfect – they struggled with sexual impurity and down right laziness. They wanted to watch everyone else do the work of the Lord but not get involved themselves.
It’s great to see that what Paul encouraged the church with over 2000 years ago, we can actually use and apply it to ourselves. Coz’ lets face it, no-one is perfect! Yes, I am a Christian, but I am far from being a perfect one…and let me give you a bit of a truth bomb…neither are you! Am I right?
How do we support each other?
We don’t support and encourage each other by paying lots of compliments. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to tell someone that they are doing a good job when it is necessary to do so. However, you don’t want to keep praising someone for all the wrong reasons, such as getting them to like you or to influence them into achieving things you want them to do.
Supporting someone means coming along side them and getting close. Yes, it means that we need to get gritty with people with their struggles and their stories. It means we need to get close with them and to say it’s ok…we’ve been there…they’re not on their own.
Supporting someone is…
…looking out for someone who is feeling tired and saying to them to keep strong…
…noticing when they are falling down and we gently come along side to pick them up…
…gently pointing someone to the truth in God’s word when they are slightly off track…
…comforting them and guiding them when they are hurting.
But who supports us?
But who supports us when we are supporting others? When we feel that our life is a little off balance and we have forces pulling us one way or the other, we start to feel the tension. We start to get overwhelmed, and eventually we will buckle.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
We need to remember that God is our strength. He is the One that will uphold us in times when we can no longer take the strain. We need to remember in the moments when we are feeling the pressure, that we can be supported too…by God!
Something to think about…
Is there someone you see that looks like they need a person beside them to ease the load? Why don’t you prayerfully consider coming along side them, in their mess, and gently guide and comfort them. Don’t forget though that God is there beside you as well in these times to be your strength and support.
Lord, I see a friend struggling through a situation right now. Please be my guide and my strength so that I can support them through this time. Help me to be by their side and to gently comfort them through what they are experiencing. Give me the wisdom I need to speak the right words at the right moment. Amen.
I originally wrote this post as a response to the Five Minute Friday word prompt “support”. Click here to see what other people wrote when they were prompted with this word.