“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’ For whatever was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:1-7
Too often we look at the Scripture above and many like it from the perspective of I have to bear with the failings of others. I have to bear with the weak. I have to look to my neighbor and look out only for his good to build him up. And that is how the Scripture presents itself. I need to look out for, and I need to bear with others.
But what I forget is that others often have to bear with me. When I get discouraged or weary of bearing with the failings of the weak or pleasing my neighbor, I can serve from a position of selfishness or I can even become resentful of having to serve them. I can think, ‘Why can’t this person get their act together? Why can’t they stop stumbling into sin or into trouble?’
I forget that others have to bear with me. Others have to bear with you. We have failings and wehave shortcomings. We sin against others. We rub people the wrong way. We need and have often seen the mercy of others as they have responded to us in love when we haven’t deserved it.
Make sure that even in your seeking to serve others this week and striving to bear with the failings around you, that you are not doing it from the perspective of resentment or putting yourself on a pedestal that gives you cause to believe that you are the only one bearing with others. Perhaps others are bearing with you instead. Let us not think that we are better than the ones we are bearing with.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”