Here’s today’s passage:
15:1 But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to build him up.
There are three phrases that particularly stand out from today’s passage that I want to reflect on.
bear with Those of us who are strong are called to bear with the weaknesses of the weak. It’s part of the cost of leadership. We are the ones to take the hits, to lay down our rights, to accomodate their needs, to condescend. It’s about serving them, not making them serve us. And as with Jesus, to do so should be a joy, not a grudgery.
not just please ourselves The word “just” here is appreciated. It’s ok to enjoy pleasure and to please ourselves. But we can’t do that exclusively. We must not neglect others in the process of our own delight. It’s so easy to get preoccupied with our own pursuits and neglect those around us.
please his neighbor for his good The last three words of this phrase particularly struck me. It’s important that we do what is truly best for our neighbor, not necessarily what he or she wants. They may not even know what’s best for them. So we need to discern what is in their best interest and that’s what we should do, regardless of the cost to us.
I loved Bob’s illustration yesterday about the woman who felt freedom to drink alcohol, but who recognized that to do so in front of her alcohol-abused mom would be unkind to her. Her actions show she’s living these verses.