Bear with the Failings of the Weak and Not to Please Ourselves—Romans 15:1-2

"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)

We have a responsibility as believers to build up and encourage our fellow believers if they are struggling with certain things. We are not to look to our own interests but to that of Christ. As such it is important for us to endure the struggles of our weaker brothers and sisters without passing judgment. Instead we should strive to encourage and build them up for good.

At first glance this passage seems like common sense and it would be easy to casually read right over it and miss the golden truth nestled inside. But the Amplified Bible explains it this way, "WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves. Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]" ( Romans 15:1-2 Amp ). So you see what Paul is saying is much more than just bearing each other's weaknesses without passing judgment. In this case we are to come along side those individuals who are struggling in their faith and help carry the burden of their doubts.

This can be accomplished by instruction in the word. Paul told Timothy "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" ( II Timothy 3:16-17 ). If our brethren are struggling in convictions, doubt or doctrine then the only way to help them is to show and teach them from the word and to build them up spiritually. The scriptures were given for this very purpose, to equip us for a godly life and give us instruction for everything we will encounter. Consequently their faith is built this way. Romans 10 says, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" ( Romans 10:17 ). So if doubt or lack of faith is the issue than the solution is instruction in the word of God.

If we are strong in our convictions and robust of faith we must be patient with the tender scruples of the weak and help carry their doubts. This is done by strengthening and building them up spiritually. This is the only way to remove doubt and inner struggle. Jesus told the disciples "then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" ( John 8:32 ). The truth is the truth, but to be free you have to know it. So if our brothers and sisters are struggling in faith because of doubts or lack of knowledge and understanding, then we should be reassuring them from the word of God to help build faith in them and see them freed by the truth we share. This makes for a happy life, but more than that it affects their true welfare; it strengthens, edifies and builds up spiritually so to be fully equipped for every good work in Christ.

This is a good word for today. Let us therefore encourage and build one another up in faith by learning and understanding the word of God. Jesus said concerning the words he spoke, "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life" ( John 6:63 ). To those who take these precious words to heart they will be life and happiness forevermore. May you be blessed and encouraged by the truth of this passage, amen.


Juli Camarin

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