Thoughts from the Sycomore’s weekly reading of Romans…
15:1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” 4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
A while back someone had said (Rob Reimer or Mike Plunket – can’t remember in my old age!) that the area of our greatest strengths is also potentially the area of greatest weakness as well. I concur. God’s righteousness reigns in me—when I see the weak getting abused or exploited, it moves me to the core. And while it usually moves me to respond at the very least in prayer, I sometimes find myself “drifting” from Christ’s righteousness to self-righteousness. I find there to be, like in so many other things, a very fine line between the two. At least I am conscious of this self-righteous, judgmental, and holier-than-though part of me and I wrestle to put it to death. However, I’ll confess to you that I find myself repenting of it more often than I’d like to admit.
Today’s text reminds us to “bear the weaknesses of those without strength.” What’s eye-opening is what comes next—“and not just PLEASE ourselves” (emphasis mine). That’s exactly what we do when we cast judgment onto others isn’t it? We may do it in the name of Jesus, but at its core, it’s really about a heraldic proclamation of how pleased we are that we’re not like “those other people” who are “weaker” than us. Unfortunately, this kind of self-indulgent self-righteous proclamation spills over onto the most defenseless of all—children. Each time we yell at our kids for spilling milk or crying over them, if we look deeply into our hearts, what we’re really doing is saying—“why can’t you be more like wonderful and perfect me?!” The truth is that we’re actually just like them—before our Heavenly Father. We admonish and correct—“to please our neighbor for his good” and “to his edification.” This should shift our perception of discipline to a whole new paradigm—we truly do disciple for their own good and not simply because we’re angry at them. This is the Christ model. What we’re called to do, is to endure and persevere—throwing ourselves into the Word of God so that we may find our hope in Him. That’s exactly what Jesus did for us. #desiringGod2017