by Jon Walker
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1 NIV)
We’ve been talking about the courage to face our faults. When we face our own faults, others will be more open to admitting their faults to us.
By facing our own faults, we’re able to interact with others. When we see others straying from the faith, instead of judging them, we can look past their “faulty” appearance and try to understand the reason for their drift from the faith.
We can address the needs and concerns God reveals to us, instead of condemning them in their weakness and leaving them trapped in their sin. Both Paul and James teach that those strong in courage are to take their courage to the weak. Those living in the Spirit are to pursue and restore those who’ve slipped back into living the old, worldly ways (Romans 14-15; Galatians 6; James 5).
We prepare ourselves to “lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” (Romans 15:1-2 MSG).
We encourage people to accept their individuality (be themselves) and yet reject individualism (living for themselves). Christ accepted us, and that encouraged us toward spiritual maturity; now we can reflect the heart of Jesus by offering acceptance to others.