I enjoy building things. As a kid, the discovery of Legos was monumental, I could sit there for hours making cool things out of the little colored bricks. Games like Mouse Trap, where you had to build elaborate traps, were immensely fun to me! The process of taking random pieces and fashioning them into something useful or recognizable is truly an amazing one!
“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NKJV)
The Greek word from which we get edify means the following:
(the act of) building, building up
metaph. the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness
Community should be edifying, it should build up and never tear down.
This is an easy thing to talk about but is much, much harder to live out. As a kid I also enjoyed destroying my creations. It was fun to, with one fell swoop, cut down everything I had worked on. But nothing compared to the art and joy of building.
I think it’s the same way with people. It can be fun to cut people down to size; it can feel good, in the moment, to say that negative thing or that divisive remark. But that’s not who we’re called to be. Though it might make us feel good for a moment, it goes against our true nature. And it pales in comparison to the joy of building someone else up.
If you’ve ever been to a church camp of any sort, you’ve heard a phrase along the lines of “leave the place in better shape than you found it”. For years I’ve tried to live by that rule and leave any place or environment better than I found it. But lately I’ve decided that I want to leave people better than I found them. This doesn’t mean that I want to fix everyone (I mean, I do, but I know I can’t, so I won’t), but I want to edify them in some way. I want people to leave an interaction with me feeling a little more peaceful or a little more confident or a little more encouraged. I want to build others up instead of tearing them down. Again, I don’t always succeed, far from it actually, but when I go into situations with that mindset I am more likely to fulfill Paul’s exhortation to us to edify those around us.
Do you make it a habit to edify others? I encourage you to edify someone in your community today!
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community