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.
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"
- " 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
- "All things are lawful, but not
all things are profitable. All things are
lawful, but not all things edify" (1
And when we interact with someone, it may help
to ask ourselves, "What can I do to build that
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.
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?"