We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Lindsey Strickler.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
We’re going to keep rolling with this section of Romans. Yesterday we saw how there was division over shallow things between people in the early Christian church, and how Paul said to basically check our hearts in how we prioritize things and what we get worked up over. Are we trying to call people into a life with Jesus, or just trying to be right?
Quick note- there is a time and a place for confrontation, and being bold. Jesus confronted people all the time, but his heart was in the right place. So often we need to take an extra moment and check our motives, and also not lose sight of the humanity of the person in front of us.
Romans 15:1-7 gives us practical encouragement in how to live at peace with one another. Ultimately, we’re to look to the example of Jesus. Today we’ll look at the first few verses and tomorrow we’ll look at the next few.
Verse 1- If we are stronger in our faith, we have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak. I don’t know about you, but I often lack patience in this area and resent the person or situation. I have to check my heart. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice and doesn’t seem “fair” but, brutal honesty here, life isn’t fair. This is part of loving one another well. There’s someone else, when you didn’t realize it, was probably bearing with your failings. There’s plenty of people who have had to bear with mine and I’m crazy grateful for it.
Verse 2- We’re to please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. Neighbor doesn’t mean the person who lives next to you, but anyone that you’re around. Are you actively seeking ways to be kind to them? To serve them? Do we look for ways to give them verbal encouragement? (PS Even the people we’re not super huge fans of).
Verse 3- Jesus took on a lot pain from other people, not just physical pain, but their judgement, misunderstanding, and unkind words. This is not justifying being an emotional punching bag for people, but we are called to be different. Which means we will experience our own fair share of emotional, and maybe physical, pain or discomfort. Can we just go ahead and accept the reality of being uncomfortable for the sake of people getting to experience counter-cultural love? We’re really good at doing that in a WOD, so can we take that outside the gym?
This is how we start building towards communal wholeness, towards communal peace. This is how we start being God’s instruments of community healing where there’s currently brokenness.
God, there are big things in this short list in Romans. There are big things that seem intimidating for me to do. Please start working in me, to soften my heart and make me willing to be used in this way. Father, I want to be an instrument of your peace, even when it makes me uncomfortable. Help me walk confidently in that because I know that you’ve got me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Start looking to see if there are ways you can better bear with people who may not be like you. Look for ways to encourage your neighbor, or the person in the gym you work out next to today. Be willing to get uncomfortable and not “get it right” all the time.
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