“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbour for his good, to build him up.”
- Romans 15:1-2
My granddaughter came over to our house for a visit yesterday afternoon. Do you know that she is four years old and can’t even drive herself the six blocks to come visit her grandparents? I was shocked to see the number of things she cannot do; she can’t zip up her own coat or operate the microwave. She struggles with complex algebra problems and has very little grasp of current events. I mean, she is four years old and has been around these things for a long time, one would think she would have picked it up by now?
It seems absurd for me to think that she would be able to drive herself to our house or be able to perform high level functions at the age of four. If I was measuring her absolute awesomeness against the backdrop of a Nobel prize winner or star athlete she would fall quite short of the mark but when I compare what she can do today to what she could do last year at this time – I find that she truly is remarkable and she will continue to get even more remarkable.
Somehow though, in the church we seem to expect perfection from people right off the hop. We are sometimes guilty of thinking they are somehow not measuring up because they aren’t able to do this or that or they don’t know all the books of the bible and can’t tell you the names of all the disciples. When they stumble a little in their faith journey we are all to often prone to judgment rather than gentle restoration. No wonder Paul reminds his audience that the role of the strong is not to tear down the weak (sorry Mr. Darwin) but to build them up and to “bear with them” not to prove how magnanimous we are but for their own good. Paul recognizes that people grow best in a culture of positivity, acceptance and love rather than one of judgment, negativity and condemnation.
Remember, that is how Christ loves us – if we were to compare ourselves to Him, none of us would measure up but instead of condemning he reached out, lifted us up, dusted us off and set us back on the right path. May we do the same for others…..and may I add that in doing so, we also lift the cloud of negativity from our own shoulders and give ourselves the freedom to simply love the unloved, support the downtrodden and encourage the despondent.
Ahhh, if we all did that, what a wonderful world this would be.
Area Commander Prairie West/ Emergency and Disaster Services Director