"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should plese his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2
It was a month ago when these verses first came screaming up at me from the Holy Pages. I was on vacation, spending time with my younger brother, a true prodigal returned to his Father. His "weaknesses" are a strong part of his amazing testimony. He counts on his brothers and sisters in Christ to help him deal with these weaknesses (every day) and to remind him that we serve a God who knows him completely and loves him.
The HCSB translation tells us we "have an obligation to bear" with these weaknesses found in others. Furthermore, the Greek word for "weak" in this verse is used only one time in the New Testament. Right here. It's not the same word used in Romans 14:1 to describe one without strength, one who is made weak. It describes a person whose weakness is an impossible thing. A weakness they can do nothing about. Not a popular thought in our "I can do" society. But that's how it reads.
The call to action in these verses is one of Christianity's little secrets. We are instructed to "bear" with these weaknesses. Action verb. It will rip you from your comfort zone, convict you of your judgmental spirit, force you to give up your leisure time to get your hands dirty and it's our obligation.
The good news, the solution, to these impossible weaknesses are unfixable by human standards. But in Mark 10:27, Jesus tells us, "...With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Yesterday, the pastor spoke on these verses again (isn't that just how God works?) and it was an uncomfortable, convicting sermon. Christianity is not the easy road. If I had learned Romans 15:1-2 before I'd learned John 3:16 I would have perhaps given more thought to what I was getting myself into. But through God, through Whom all things are possible, we can put aside our selfish ambitions. We can consider others, in this case those who have impossible weaknesses. Bear with the weaknesses and build the individual up. For as we read all throughout scripture, that's exactly what God, through Christ, has done for us.