WHAT IS A WEAK CHRISTIAN?
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Romans 14:1-3
A weak believer is one who has strong opinions about a secondary issue. He sets out to argue about it with anyone who disagrees. It becomes the center of his focus. His quarrelsome approach destroys fellowship. Knowing a fight is coming, others nearby will brace themselves when they see the weaker brother approaching. The nature of his relationships within the church is argumentative.
How Christians treat each other is the subject of the next 35 verses. Paul thought it was extremely important and dedicated to dedicate a chapter and a half to the topic. Human nature hasn’t changed much since the time he wrote this. We are still arguing about things that don’t matter all that much in the kingdom.
Who is the weak believer? At times, all of us are. I feel strongly about some topics that, to others, might be peripheral. One reason might be because I’ve been hurt, or judged, by others in the past for my views. The comments still sting. The rejection can ever eat away at me if I let it. Because I can’t let it go and feel a need to vindicate myself, I perpetuate the argument. I need to find peace with God and security in His love.
How do I handle someone else who is weak? Could be a family member who turns every get together into a quarrel. Dinners turn toxic as each around the table feels like a hostage to the one who is confrontational. Or, it could be someone at church. I’ve known those who admit going in and out a certain door to avoid someone who bends their ear about the same thing, year in and year out. Paul advises me to stop the arguing. I greet him warmly, in Christ, but am firm about my unwillingness to discuss his hot topic. I encourage him, lovingly, to agree to disagree.
Insecure people try to surround themselves with people who agree with them on every issue. Churches and ministries can be staffed by clones. This is not healthy. The greatest thing pastors, leaders, and Christian parents can do is raise up those under them who are free to think differently. Is Christ large enough in me to love someone who believes differently than me about topics I feel strongly about? This is a test of my faith and my maturity.
Are there arguments I need to stop? Give me courage. Are there arguments my pastor needs to silence? Give him courage. Amen