February 20 - Romans 15:1-4

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Romans 15:1-4 – Christ's Example

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Paul continues to write of the relationship between the strong and the weak within Christianity, but now he brings another emphasis forward … that of unity.

There are those who are strong in the faith and Paul reminds them of their responsibility to help others. In Galatians 6:2, he writes "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

It is something that occurs in every culture and even when we don't realize that we are doing it, we become part of a historical pattern whereby the strong use that strength to make their lives easier, and oftentimes, in so doing, make the weak bear the brunt of the culture's burdens and then, they also belittle those who are weaker because they don't have the same amount of power and buckle under it much easier.

Within Christianity, Paul reminds us that it is the responsibility of those who have power and who are strong to bear the greatest burden of society and not try to make those who have less power and aptitude become equal, but to relieve their burden. We are to be the servants that Jesus commanded us to be.

If there are those who are weak, we are to bear with their failings and not be more interested in taking care of and protecting our own. We are to take care of our neighbors … no matter who they are, what they may look like, or what they contribute to society in order to build them up.

Paul uses a very strong reminder when he speaks of how Christ lived while on earth. He did not do things to make his own life easier, but took on the responsibility of caring for the very least and the very lost, no matter what they had done to get to the point at which they were living.

He uses words from Psalm 69:9 and then reminds his readers that all Scripture is to be used for our instruction (1 Corinthians 9:9-10) so that we might have hope.