And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. (NIV)
Some people need a reassuring arm around the shoulder. Other people need a kick in the pants. Some people need to be told their pattern of life does not mean God has abandoned them. Other people need to be warned their pattern of life threatens their relationship with God. One size does not fit all when it comes to caring for others.
At the end of one of his many letters, Paul urges his readers to care for one another. But he doesn’t just resort to empty cliches. He recognises that different people need different care at different stages of their life. Some need prodding into action, some need to rest. Some are blithely unaware of the impact of sin and others are suffocated by the guilt of it. Some need to speak up, whole others need to shut up.
Each of us has to be careful not to assume one approach which works for one person will also work for another person. Loving others is not one dimensional. It requires wisdom rather than just a desire to help. Love may drive us to care for others. Wisdom will determine just what sort of care is required.