PUTTING UP WITH THE WEAKNESSES OF OTHERS
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2
The Apostle Paul wrote, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1). He thus plainly accepts the fact that there will be infirm persons among the believing members of the spiritual community we call the local church. He tells us to bear them, or bear with them in their weakness.
Now who are the infirm persons in the church? How can we identify them? Not how can we find them, for they are sure to be easiest of all persons to find. Their very infirmities make them conspicuous. The infirm brother is the one who has painful conscientious scruples about foods (Romans 14:1-2); or he has deep convictions about certain holy days (Romans 14:5-6); or his grasp of gospel truth is weak, and he is forced to support himself by various crutches which he may have found in some religious attic.
To him these scruples are sacred; consequently, he is likely to try to force them upon everyone else, and in doing so he is pretty sure to make very much of a nuisance of himself. That is where the "strong" Christian gets opportunity to give his patience a workout. He dare not dismiss the overheated brother; he must bear with him in love, knowing that he too is of the company of the redeemed.
Love for a brother or sister in Christ will keep us from doing or saying what harms that person, even though our strong convictions are challenged. Love always takes priority over the exercise of personal freedom.
Thank You, Lord, for those who have put up with my weaknesses over the years. And thank You for Your patience with me.