Loving Those Weak in the Faith

JesusWalking2“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” –      Romans 14:1

Often Christians are their own worst enemies.  It’s human nature to look at others and compare them to yourself.  We see someone walking down the street out of breath and we make the comment, “At least I am not as out of shape as that person.”  There’s a term for that kind of thinking in psychology called social comparison.  We constantly gauge our appearance or performance by comparing ourselves to others.  Christians do that with their faith life as well. Someone in your church comes to services ones a month or skips out just after the sermon and we say, “Wow, I’m glad my faith is much stronger than theirs.”

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans reminds us this is not a proper Christian response when engaging our fellow brothers and sisters who may still be learning or struggling with the faith. When there’s someone among us weak in the faith, we welcome them and embrace them as our brother and sister.  We encourage them and offer our support as appropriate.  Ours is not to judge the state of their faith but rather to support what’s there and help them grow more and more in love with Christ.  By being in love with Christ they will feel compelled to read the Bible more, spend time in prayer, and attend worship more frequently.

The last part of this verse indicates we are not to welcome those weaker in the faith into our company so we can quarrel with them.  You will never help someone grow spiritually by arguing them into a loving relationship with God, it just doesn’t work that way.  Rather, welcome them into your company so they may see how Christ has transformed you.  In this way they may want the peace and joy they see in you for themselves and grow in the faith.  No one has ever come to Christ simply because of good arguments, but rather by the loving instruction of someone exemplifying divine peace and a loving heart.  Christ won the hearts of his disciples by loving them and welcoming them into his friendship, not by logically defending a strong set of dogmatic statements.  Today, start helping others grow more in love with God by loving them.  Then, and only then, will they give you the privilege of helping them know in their minds what God has planted in their hearts.

Let us pray,

“Oh God of love and peace, teach me to be a hospitable welcoming person who invites those just now learning about who you are into fellowship with me.  Allow my example to be a light to them and a reason to know you more perfectly and never an excuse to walk further from you.  This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit forever and ever, Amen!”

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