The weak and the strong
As a young boy, I made it my life’s mission to make my younger brother despise the day he was born.
It’s so crazy how God can make siblings with complete opposite personalities. My brother and I are the perfect example. I’ll talk to just about anybody; my brother only talks when it is necessary. I seldom ever put off what could be done “today.” My brother, however, always had his own agenda and time frame which was seldom “today”! I’m very particular with, well, just about everything; my brother was pretty much a slob. Since we shared a bedroom, his lack of attention to detail would drive me absolutely crazy.
My little farm toys were set up on my dresser like a store display. I had a very strict rule: “DON’T EVER TOUCH MY STUFF!” Of course, he did, forcing me to retaliate and beat the crap out of him. I was physically stronger, and after all, he broke the rule.
I can honestly say I was one of the worst older brothers on the planet. I would give him the small cars with the wheels that didn’t turn, convincing him they were special. At the time, I would’ve considered myself not only physically stronger but also smarter than him, mentally stronger.
I’m sure those of us who have siblings might be recalling a similar story. Maybe you were the stronger or maybe you were the weaker.
I never gave it much thought until I was an adult, reflecting on scripture where Paul talks about the strong and the weak. Now, I know Paul isn’t addressing a toy farm display or allowing your little brother into the cool car club. Paul is speaking about believers who are strong in faith and those who are weak.
Romans 14:1 “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.”
Paul is saying it’s okay to hang out with those who may not be as mature as we are. And just because they don’t understand, don’t argue with them. Instead, accept them. Don’t run away judging them; embrace them so they too can become stronger in faith.
When I read this, I made a correlation between this verse and how I treated my brother. God desires us to be filled with care and concern for others, especially for those of us who are stronger.
Paul gives this little gem of advice for us:
Romans 15:1-2 “We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We mut not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.”
Instead of using our strength to make us feel superior, or to make ourselves feel better about our own weaknesses, let’s use that strength to treat them the way Christ had intended.
In my 20s, I decided I would invest in my brother. I taught him how to work with his hands and become a skilled cabinetmaker. I shared with him all my tricks and my secrets. He now owns the largest and most successful cabinet shops in the area where we grew up.
I realized Paul was pointing out that the way to true happiness and fulfillment is to take your eyes off yourself and invest in someone weaker.
Let’s use our strengths to help the weak and those who are struggling. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!