Three Principles on How to Love Our Brothers and Sisters in Christ

1. When Helping and Supporting Brothers and Sisters, Take an Individual Approach, Not a “One Size Fits All” Approach

When we are helping and supporting our weak brothers and sisters, we always hope that they will come through their difficulties as soon as possible and then be able to attend church gatherings and read the Bible with a positive attitude. Much of the time, however, we can easily overlook the objective difficulties that our brothers and sisters have, as well as their actual statures and, with our good intentions and enthusiasm to help, we jump in with both feet, imposing the same standards on brothers and sisters who all have different statures. The result of this is that, not only do we not resolve their issues, but we also make some brothers and sisters feel that we are demanding more of them than they can achieve, and thus they become even more negative, and they backslide even more. God’s word says, “God’s work is carried out according to people’s actual circumstances and is based on their innate caliber” (“Concerning the Bible (2)”). “You must understand the difficulties that objectively exist for most people, you must not be unreasonable or ‘try to teach a pig to sing’; that is foolish behavior. To resolve the many difficulties people experience, you must first comprehend the dynamics of the work of the Holy Spirit; you must understand how the Holy Spirit performs work on different people, you must have an understanding of the difficulties people face and of their shortcomings, and you must see through to the key issues of the problem and get to its source, without deviating or making any errors. Only this kind of person is qualified to coordinate in service to God” (“What an Adequate Shepherd Should Be Equipped With”). These words allow us to understand that each brother and sister has different strengths and a different caliber, that they have not all believed in God for the same length of time, that they are all of different statures, that their understanding of the truth is all at different levels, and the states that arise within them when they encounter difficulties also differ from person to person. We must therefore take each case individually. Based on our individual inherent calibers and statures — that is, according to our individual actual situations — God asks of us only that which is appropriate. He does not constrain us to do anything that is beyond our ability to do or that which is entirely beyond us. Therefore, when we are helping and supporting our brothers and sisters, we should follow this principle too, and we have to understand the objective difficulties and actual situation of our brothers and sisters, take an individual approach, not a “one size fits all” approach, and not ask anything of our brothers and sisters that is beyond their ability to achieve. For example, when it comes to having no time to attend church gatherings, it could be because some brothers and sisters have only believed in God for a short time, because they don’t grasp the significance of attending gatherings, because they don’t understand God’s will and requirements and because they follow worldly trends and pay no heed to gatherings. We should therefore fellowship with them patiently to make them understand the importance of attending gatherings and so that they thoroughly understand that, by becoming mired in worldly trends, the only outcome will be that they will grow farther and farther away from God. Some brothers and sisters have believed in God for a long time and ordinarily they attend gatherings regularly, but because something untoward has happened at home, and they are blaming and misunderstanding God, they then miss a gathering. In this case, we can fellowship with them on what God’s will is and what God requires of us when trials and adversity befall us, and when the brother or sister’s misunderstandings about God have been dispelled, they then become willing to attend gatherings again. These are just two examples of how we can help brothers and sisters when they do not attend church gatherings. Once we have understood the actual difficulties of our brothers and sisters and have pondered how to help them in order to achieve good results, God will enlighten and guide us and, through fellowshiping with them God’s will and requirements, our brothers and sisters can then come through their difficulties.

2. When Helping and Supporting Our Brothers and Sisters, We Should Exalt and Bear Witness to God, and Use Our Actual Experiences to Help Others

When we are supporting our brothers and sisters, we often use some well-known verses from the Bible, some theological theories or our own experiences of giving things up, expending ourselves and suffering, in order to give them advice and encouragement. From the outside, it appears as though we are trying to inspire our brothers and sisters, but unbeknownst to us, by doing this we can make our brothers and sisters look up to us and hold us in high esteem and, in actual fact, we are showing ourselves off and flaunting ourselves in a covert way. This is because, after we have given fellowship in this way, our brothers and sisters still haven’t understood the Lord’s will and requirements but, on the contrary, will believe that we have a great understanding of the Bible and have hearts that love the Lord. Some will say, “You have such great stature and you love the Lord. My stature is nowhere near as great as yours so I can’t do what you ask.” Some may be momentarily inspired by what we say, but afterward they become lost again, and their actual issues are left unresolved.

3. Help and Support Brothers and Sisters as Their Equal, and Be More Loving and Patient

When brothers and sisters are feeling negative and weak, we should be sympathetic toward their difficulties, treat them as our equals, help and support them with love and patience and talk heart-to-heart with them, for only by doing these things can good results be achieved. From our experiences, however, we see that, at the very beginning we are able to help and support our brothers and sisters with love, but when their negativity persists after supporting them a few times, we then stop being loving and patient with them. Instead, we live within our satanic disposition of arrogance and self-conceitedness, we belittle and look down on our brothers and sisters in our hearts, we decide that they are not pursuers of the truth, and thereafter when we help and support them, we are condescending and preach doctrine to them, and we even begin to lecture them. By fellowshiping in this way, all we do is make our brothers and sisters feel constrained, so much so that they even begin to feel aversion toward us, and thus their problems are naturally left unresolved.

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