Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.--1 Thessalonians 5:14, KJV
Apparently this single verse in 1 Thessalonians caused translators quite a bit of problems. The phrase including "unruly" ("disorderly" is some of the more modern translations) is often interpreted as lazy, idle, or unwilling to work. "Feebleminded" comes out as discouraged, fainthearted, afraid, timid, disheartened.
Today "feebleminded" is an offensive word. What is the PC word today? Intellectually challenged? In any case, I think the definition of feeble applies: physically or mentally weak; lacking physical or mental health.
I especially like the translator who turned "be patient toward all men" into "put up with everyone." Patience suggests an entirely different attitude!
I stumbled upon this verse in the King James version recently and came to a complete stop. One version, five short phrases, captured the essence of life and ministry in a nursing home:
Warn the unruly: I've seen that several times. Once a couple of residents even resorted to fisticuffs. There was the man who insisted on his removing shirt and trying to stand . . . the brain-injured man who shouted obscenities at the top of his voice . . . oh, yes, we have unruly people here.
The folks here are more than willing to work. Those who can walk love to push residents in wheelchairs (even when they don't want it). One lady is trying to find everyone here jobs. Another gentlemen treats the home as his office and often approaches me as his secretary, since I work at a computer.
Comfort the feebleminded: While all the other words. . . discouraged, fainthearted, timid, afraid, dishearted. . . may apply, I like King James' generic (if not PC in 2012) term feebleminded. That's true of so many people here. Their minds might be locked in the past. Or they might need instant (and repeated) answers. For some, all we know of what is going on in their heads is the expression on their face. Are they smiling? Fearful? Angry? Confused?
Support the weak: Physical weakness abounds here. It's the reason I'm here. The staff does most of the "supporting," of course. But I find comfort in being in a place where everyone has some kind of disability. I am not an object of pity here, but a fellow sufferer. We don't have to pretend to feel better than we do.
Be patient toward all men. Patience--while I wait for the overworked staff to take care of me. Patience--when a fellow resident insults me (I'm not the only object of her spite). Patience--while the noise level rises. Patience--when my personal rights are minimized. All of that, and more. Even if at times all I manage is to "put up with everyone." And I confess, sometimes, not even that much.
Look at your own life. Do you know people who are unruly (or lazy), feebleminded, or weak? How do you manage in the patience department?
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