Sunday – November 6, 2022
Word On Worship – Sunday – November 6, 2022
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.
Throughout high school I was in marching band where I marched in several parades each year. While I was not the best musician, through much practice, I eventually learned to march in step with the rest of the band. Marching requires unity—people doing the same thing at the same time. Although a band or a choir has many instruments and many different parts, it must have a central unity for a harmonious end result. Our text in Romans 15 finds Paul speaking of the church of Jesus Christ as though it were similar to a choir. The great task and privilege of this unique choir is singing praises to the glory of God. For this to be accomplished, there must be both unity and harmony.
These verses are Paul’s closing statement concerning our convictions and the exercise of our liberties within the body of Christ and they are very significant. The final practical lesson of the Roman epistle is pleasing others instead of ourselves. By pleasing our neighbor, Paul does not mean pleasing them at any cost. He doesn’t mean avoiding or watering down the truth, because it might be hard for the other person. Paul means to please them in a way that upholds the highest commandment of all: Love. Love sincerely seeks the highest good of the one loved, which is that they be conformed to Christ.
Christianity turns the world’s thinking upside-down concerning the “strong” and the “weak.” The world thinks those who are strong should use their strength to take advantage of the weak—the vulnerability of another is seen as an opportunity for the strong to gain at the expense of the weak. The Bible turns this mindset inside-out, requiring a transformed mind regarding the strong and the weak. Those who are strong have an obligation to the weak. They are not to victimize the weak but to come to their aid.
This mindset is evident in the Old Testament Law where the widows, the orphans, and the aliens were given special consideration, protection, and benefits. Not only were these helpless people not to be taken advantage of, they were to be helped. Jesus taught the same truth. The leaders of the nation Israel were to serve the people and to protect the helpless but they failed in this regard. In the Gospels, Jesus has strong words of rebuke for Israel’s leaders who abused their power. He taught His disciples that while the Gentile leaders misused their power, causing the weak to serve them, His disciples were to use their power as leaders to serve others just as He Himself did (Mark 10:35-45).