Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11
One of the main things we are to be doing when we are around other Christians is comforting and edifying one another. The Proverbs tell us that the wise will use their tongue to bring healing (Prov. 12:18) while others use it like the piercing of a sword. Words can cut deep or they can promote healing.
What does it mean to speak comfort to another believer? The word for comfort here is parakaleō and it means to “call to ones side” and “to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.” As often as we can we should be calling other Christian to our side and lovingly comforting them and consoling them in a way that encourages and strengthens them. Notice the word each other, not only are you to be comforting them but they should be comforting you as well. That actually is the natural response when you comfort someone, they will be much more likely to comfort you back when you’re in need of it.
We are also instructed to edify one another, what does it mean to edify someone? The word in the Greek is oikodomeō and it means “to build a house, erect a building” but metaphorically speaking it means to “to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness, to grow in wisdom and piety”. When you comfort them it should be building them up in a way that promotes their growth spiritually. If you think comforting someone means just saying “Have more faith brother!!!” then slapping them on the back you have a lot to learn about what it means to comfort. Every situation is different and we need to be empathetic and sensitive to both that persons emotions and mood and the leading of the Holy Spirit in that moment.
Ok so you know you are supposed to comfort and edify, but what are you supposed to comfort or edify them with? In the context of this scripture Paul is speaking to them of the coming of the Lord and how believers who died will not be staying dead, Jesus will someday raise them from the dead and those who live will meet with them and Christ in the air. The first thing we need to comfort and edify each other in is in the reality and promises of Christ. The comfort that our words and experiences can bring can only go so far, we must lead people to be comforted and built up by Christ Himself. Many times that just means coming along side, listening to someone, offering to pray for them and then getting out of the way so Christ can do His work.
Maybe you’re thinking “I already do all that”, well great, but it seems as though the Thessalonians were already doing it as well and yet Paul was reminding them to keep it up. So keep it up.