Dealing with Those Who Are Weaker
Let us examine some of the guidelines Paul gives in Romans 14 for dealing with those who are weaker in faith.
The first rule of Christian love is that we receive others who are weaker in faith as brothers and sisters. Every Christian is a servant of Christ. Christ is his master and judge. I am not to judge those who are Christ’s.
A second principle of Christian liberty is that a person should not be forced to act according to another person’s conscience with respect to “matters indifferent.” This rule presupposes that Christians are at various levels of personal growth.
A third principle set forth in Romans 14 is that the stronger brother ought not to cause his weaker brother to stumble but should be considerate. He is not to flaunt his liberty in front of a weaker brother. He is not to coax his brother to indulge. A guideline is set down in verse 22: “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God” (KJV).
Paul declares that the kingdom of God is not in eating or drinking. It is not a matter of indifferent externals. In these things we are to have love for each other, respecting the scruples of the individual as well as his or her liberties. Patience and forbearance are called for. In matters of externals, the internal fruit of the Holy Spirit must be made manifest.
How does your response to weaker brothers and sisters line up with the three guidelines given in this reading?
Passages for Further Study
- Romans 14:1
- Romans 14:21–22
- Romans 14:13
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