What Can I Do To Build That Person Up?
At times in the past, when someone has done something wrong to me, I've been tempted to get them back, or at least do something to make their life harder.
Maybe we've all had thoughts like these.
But rather than having thoughts of getting them back, we should have thoughts of building them up, so they repent and don't treat others the same way. God commands us to love our enemies, and overcome evil with good (Matt. 5:43-48; Rom. 12:17-21).
All Things for Edification
Everything we do is to build people up; thus, all things are for edification.
"Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification" (Rom. 15:2).
" Let all things be done for edification." (1 Cor. 14:26).
Jesus did not seek to please Himself when He came to earth. He did what was best for us, and died on the cross so we could be saved. Therefore, as His disciples, we do the same for others; we do what is best for them, rather than just doing what is best for ourselves (Rom. 15:2-3).
So when it comes to choices we make among lawful things, we only do the things that build people up (edify).
"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify" (1 Cor. 10:23).
And when we interact with someone, it may help to ask ourselves, "What can I do to build that person up?"
Don't Tear Down; Build Up
The words we speak are to build people up. We should never speak in a way that tears them down.
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Eph. 4:29).
We never want to discourage people. We encourage them, and do everything we can to build them up.
"Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Th. 5:11).
So we pursue things that make for peace and the building up of people.
"So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense" (Rom. 14:19-20).
Use the Word of God
To build people up, we must use the word of God. If we use anything else, we tear people down.
Paul, when speaking to the Ephesian elders and warning them of apostasy, commended them to God and the word of His grace, which was able to build them up and give them an inheritance among all who are sanctified (Acts 20:32).
We must use the word of God to build people up in the most holy faith (Jude 1:20). Using anything else tears them down, and leads them to hell rather than to heaven.
So, we must know God's word well enough to intelligently discuss it with people.
And we must talk about God and His word. A conversation void of God, and the influence of His word, can't build people up, because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 10:17).
So when we interact with people, it may help to ask ourselves, "What can I say about God and His word, and how can I influence them as a Christian, so I can build them up?"
Must have Love
Knowledge is not enough to build people up; we must also love them. Knowledge without love makes a person arrogant, but knowledge with loves causes us to edify them.
"Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him" (1 Cor. 8:1-3).
Nothing we do is profitable unless we have love.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing" (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
Why in the past have I been tempted to get someone back when they hurt me? I knew what God commanded, but I was still tempted.
It was because I didn't love them as I should.
So now, when someone hurts me, my goal is to remember to pray for them and overcome evil with good, while asking myself, "What can I do to build that person up?"