Romans 15:1-6 (NRSV)
We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
By John Grimm
Do we label the weak in our local church? If we do, are they those who have less money than us? How about those who are chronically ill? Would the weak be those who are always complaining about something or other in the church?
It might turn out that as we are attempting to label the weak that we discover we are the weak. For our labeling the “weak” may be an insult to all others in the local church!
Paul is instructing the church in Rome to not please themselves. For when we are pleasing ourselves, do we take notice of our neighbors? Thankfully, we have the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to instruct us on how to be steadfast in the faith God has given to us.
It is God who brought us together to be the local church. For it is in the local church, and not denominational offices, that disciples of Jesus Christ are made. Since God has brought us together, he knows we can have harmony with one another, rather than labels. Through the harmony that God grants to us, we do give glory to God. Our voices are united in praising the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God, we have often labeled our neighbors within our local church as being weak or strong. Forgive us for attempting to please ourselves with lofty thoughts of ourselves and insulting other disciples of Jesus Christ. As we read the Bible, show us how to live in harmony with one another. We praise you for Jesus and for drawing us to faith in Jesus through the local church. As we live in harmony, may we be found to be living in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.