“Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother“
Yet do not count him as an enemy,
The fourth thing to consider in disciplining lazy people is to not make them feel like enemies. Discipline shouldn’t be taken too far. This is a declaration of prudence (2 Corinthians 2:7). Paul uses this statement to qualify the previous injunction of “do not keep company with.”
The church should not count recalcitrant believers as adversaries. The word “count” carries the idea of consider. The idea here is regard. We are not to regard carnal believers as non-believers or enemies.
but admonish him
“Admonish” means to put in mind, warn. The idea is to provide instruction so as to correct behavior or belief. It is our role as Christians to advise others of dangerous consequences of their behavior.
“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
as a brother
Lest the Thessalonians go overboard with admonishing others, Paul urges them to admonish others as relatives and not as adversaries. Although a church member’s behavior might be aberrant, he is still our brother in Christ.
It is important to use prudence and judgment in the discipline of fellow Christians.
Some people execute church discipline with a sense of hostility toward the offenders. This passage warns against that. We are not to develop an attitude of antagonism toward offending Christians but an attitude of kinship.
The purpose of church discipline is not to administer punishment but to restore the believer to fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:5). That is why we do not use excessive discipline. When we go beyond the appropriate bounds of correction, we do not show love but unnecessary harshness. We must keep the welfare of carnal Christians in mind at all times. However, we do show love through admonition.