Two Kinds of People in the World
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
It’s not entirely fair or universally true, but whatever scenario I’m in, I sometimes find myself dividing the world into two kinds of people: Those who do one thing and those who do the other. In reading today’s passage, I break the people in my life up into two categories: Those who encourage me, making me want to be better, and those who discourage me, making me, well, not better.
At work, at church, or at the gym, there are those in my life who inspire me. I watch what they do, what they say, and how they act, and I want to be like them. Just being near them makes me desire to do better and to be more. Often, they encourage me, not by telling me how great I’m doing, but by coaching me, helping me, and teaching me. They don’t necessarily seek to build up or tear down my ego. They’re simply working on growing themselves and they desire that others grow with them. I want to be around these kinds of people.
Then, there are those that, frankly, drag me down. Maybe they complain about everything. Maybe they only give a half effort. Maybe they criticize everything and everyone. Negativity unfortunately rubs off and when I’m around them, I find myself complaining and criticizing as well. These people don’t make me want to be better, but rather, I unfortunately allow them to make me worse.
In today’s passage, Paul told his audience that they must encourage each other, building up one another. This word encourage here doesn’t just mean to massage one’s ego, but rather to coach, teach, instruct, and comfort. Likewise, the word for building up indicates a purposeful growing of character. Paul is telling us that, as Christians, we must daily coach, teach, comfort, and grow each other.
So, for the purpose of today’s passage, there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who build others up and those who tear them down. I find two questions here for me. First, with whom do I surround myself? Do I seek out those people who would make me better or do I settle for those who tear me down? Second, and perhaps more importantly, which kind of person am I? Do I make those around me want to be better? Do I coach, teach, encourage, and build up? Or do I give a half effort, complaining about everything? There are two kinds of people in the world and daily, I must decide which ones I’m going to surround myself with and which one I’m going to be.