Extending Forgiveness and Encouragement

Open Your Bible

Hebrews 10:1-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-24, Malachi 2:10

Words of affirmation used to compete for the top spot among my love languages. Working in church ministry for several years, I’ve had the privilege of watching believers go above and beyond in practicing it. Social media posts with captions that could make you weep, cards and treats, and endearing announcements from the stage or pulpit—you name it, I’ve seen it. It didn’t take long for my internal challenger to kick in, wondering, “Do they really mean that?” It wasn’t that the encouragement came from disingenuous people, but often the encouragement I witnessed was rooted in subjectivity, dependent on ever-changing opinions. The encouragement we extend is usually intended to boost someone’s confidence or answer the question, “What can I do to make this person feel better?” 

Today, we read two passages that, despite different church contexts and authors, arrive at the same place—the call to encourage (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). The call to encourage is commanded in both, but it’s different from the call I’ve often witnessed and practiced. 

Hebrews 10:1–25 explores Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament sacrifices and priests, along with exhortations for believers in light of Christ’s past and present work. As our priest, Jesus allows us to dwell in the presence of God with boldness and confidence. Out of this new position, Paul’s exhortation to encourage emerges. The command in Hebrews extends beyond a person—it’s not meant to be dependent on our impression of someone, but in all Christ has done for them.

Whereas Hebrews 10 focuses on Christ’s past and present work, in Thessalonians Paul focuses on Christ’s future return. In a book clarifying questions about the reality and timing of Christ’s return, the call Paul emphasized wasn’t to sit around trying to determine when Christ might return, but to encourage one another in kingdom work until Christ returns.

I’m thankful that the call to extend encouragement isn’t rooted in a surface level boost of confidence—instead it is rooted in the rich theology of Christ’s atoning sacrifice and His coming return. This is a call rooted in the Lord, rather than the recipients of our encouragement. 

Don’t get me wrong, encouragement that’s all about me feels great in the moment, but it doesn’t last. It doesn’t point me to Christ or call me to obedience. 

Let’s be women who encourage beyond the surface, rooting our encouragement in the gospel. Consider taking your inspiration from Hebrews, reminding a doubting brother or sister in Christ of the impact of the gospel you have seen evident in their lives. Or, take your encouragement from Thessalonians, encouraging an exhausted believer in their obedience to the gospel you have witnessed. Today, how will you root your words of encouragement in Christ’s work and His calling for our obedience? 

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46 thoughts on "Extending Forgiveness and Encouragement"

  1. Rachel D says:

    I am thankful for this community of devoted women, for family, for the never-changing nature of God, and for the opportunity to access Him through every season of life. I’m grateful for the things money could never buy, could never satisfy. I’m grateful to have a body and a soul and a mind that God touches and ultimately changes. Glory to God! Whatever challenges you’re walking through, I pray the peace and security of God would flood through you today and that you’d be able to rest in thankfulness for the goodness in your life. Happy Thanksgiving SRT!!

  2. Rhonda J. says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Friends. Always grateful for these studies and the comments. I am really looking forward to advent this year and to digging even further into my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! It truly does bring JOY to my spirit, even when the world seems to be going crazy. I keep praying to shine His light to the people in my day-to-day life. It is my greatest desire. Yet…I wonder if I am, the day goes by, and I wonder? Lord, show me how, show me opportunities that I don’t see, help me to be bolder…or quiet when I need to be. All I can do is pray and stay close to you, amen.

  3. Dorothy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who live in America.

    Encouragement is something I need to work on, especially with certain people I’m around. I sometimes feel defeated and deflated with them. I guess that part of me comes from not receiving much encouragement from my father. My siblings made “A” and “B” in school, I had learning disabilities — which my father had a hard time excepting — I made mainly “C” with some “B” it was rare if I made an “A”. My father was also very smart. It wasn’t until after I was married, divorced and living with them with my two AD/HD sons that he realized the difficulties I had, this was because my mom had given him information on the subjects of AD/HD and learning disabilities and dyslexia (my older son had a problem with that and so do I) to read.

    God remind me that everyone needs encouragement at some point in there life. Amen.

    Be well and be blessed sisters. Only three more days til the start of Advent, I can’t believe it.

  4. Penny M says:

    Churchmouse so thankful for you and your Godly wisdom shared with our community. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Happy Thanksgiving SRT! Thankful for this community of believers!

  6. Maura says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Sisters, thanking God for all my SRT sisters. Encouragement in Christ brings joy with it. And I always find it here amoung you all. As we share in God’s Word, pray for one another, share the blessings, praises and struggles He is with us and as I read your stories, insights, joys, and sorrows and lift up my prayers and praises I am so very blessed. Churchmouse He is the biggest of all. Beautiful Jenna. Your words reminded me of a message I have kept in my heart for when I am overwhelmed. The Minister was talking about how we define God in our minds, to the point that sometimes even in our prayers we are praying so small. Our God is Big Enough to handle whatever we need. He helped a boy defeat a giant, parted the Red Sea, turned water into wine, raised Lazarus from the dead, makes the lame walk, the blind see, defeated death and raises us to life. Our God is Big Enough. Yes Jenna He is the biggest of all, may our faith rise up to How Big He is. Praise God He is more than able to hold us in the storms and carry us through. Praying for you Corina Kropp, and for your community, for safety, that the rain would stop and the damage be minimal. God’s abundant provision. I love how the best in people comes out in such times. Praying this continues and many come to understand His grace and love. Thankful.

  7. Lexi B says:

    Happy Thanksgiving She’s!

    Today I am thankful for SRT and you! SRT has been a part of my mornings every year since 2013. Thank you for helping me draw nearer to God.

    Thank you She’s for all your wisdom in your posts, your prayers and encouraging words. I cherish your comments and look forward to them after every study.

    I am thankful for my coworkers who showed me so much love yesterday that I’ll never forget it. I was feeling so discouraged by work and God showed me not to lose heart or lose my joy through their actions. My heart truly needed that.

    Today is the first thanksgiving holiday without my uncle. It is so weird knowing that I wont see him again on this side of Heaven. Right now, he’s enjoying the best feast in the best place! Thanksgiving will always hold fond memories because he was a part of it and I am thankful for those memories <3.

  8. Kathy A says:

    So thankful for this group ❤️! Happy Thanksgiving to all our American Shes. @Churchmouse I loved your post from yesterday! Such a powerful reminder to keep a stone in our pocket. Praying for peaceful and enjoyable gatherings for us all! May God be glorified as we love ONE ANOTHER, rejoice, pray and give thanks. Let us hold on to what is good! Amen!