Not only is it the responsibility of the church member to warn the unruly but our verse today goes on to say that I demonstrate my love for my church when I comfort the “feebleminded.” “Feebleminded” does not mean a person whose brains have turned to mush; that’s not the idea at all.
Let me introduce you to another group of people within the church. Paul calls them the fainthearted. Fainthearted comes from a Greek word that is a graphic word. So the fainthearted are those who are weak in spirit. They are timid and fearful. They worry and stress over everything. They value safety and assurance. They don’t want anyone to rock the boat. They cling to tradition and prefer to walk in well-worn paths instead of blazing new trials.
In the days prior to and ending with the Civil War, battles were fought by lining up companies of men across great fields. They marched toward each other with great precision. At less than a hundred yards, they would fire their often inaccurate, unrifled muskets in timed volleys. They would stand, fire, then step back to reload while others fired.
All the while, their enemy a few yards away fired upon them with both muskets and canon. Imagine the courage and discipline these soldiers called upon. You had to stand and do your job while comrades on both sides were violently struck down by withering enemy fire. You can bet than many a private in those armies felt small- souled. Everything in him compelled him to turn and run for safety.
How were they able stand and fight amid such terrible violence? They had non- commissioned officers, sergeants who moved up and down the ranks, shouting encouragement, urging them to their duty and preventing them from succumbing to the panicked fear that would cause them to flee the field and run for their lives. That’s an apt illustration of what it means to be “feebleminded.”