WHO AM I IN THE EQUATION?
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13
When my faith was young and fragile, I was easily disillusioned when I saw flaws in someone I looked up to. My spirit felt the crash as they came tumbling off the pedestal I had put them on. If the offense, in my eyes, was serious enough, I would wonder if they were even Christians. This is what those who are weak in the faith do when they pass judgment.
Those who are stronger in Christ and are seasoned followers of the Spirit have far more latitude. They understand more about true liberty within the parameters of God’s moral law. Because of that, it’s easy for them to look at the weaker Christian, become exasperated, and call them childish.
James Boice describes this best. “The weak are not to judge the strong by considering them unspiritual, and the strong are not to judge the weak by considering them immature.”
If I am a young Christian, I am looking for the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of scripture. I want God to make everything clear for me. I am a toddler – looking to a Daddy to tell me what to touch or not touch, what to embrace and what to avoid. I need clear and concise commands to show me how to walk.
If I am an older Christian, I settle on a principle like, “Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” With the help of the Spirit and a conscience alive to Him, I work out its interpretation. How I choose to live within the parameters of that verse will be different than my friend.
In light of that, I am to accommodate the weaker brother. His faith doesn’t have much elastic. He can’t understand the meat of the Word and shouldn’t be judged for that. If, in my Christian liberty, I would make him stumble by engaging in something I feel is okay for me, I protect his faith by adjusting my behavior. I take care of him. He is a toddler and adults should not expect toddlers to understand adult things.
The rub is this ~ When seasoned Christians act like toddlers and impose legalistic rules on the church, the way becomes foggy. And if I’ve been a victim of their abuse, I will clutch my new-found Christian liberty and resent having to adjust it for anyone. That is not an excuse but a reality.
Only time with Jesus, only basking in His grace, will heal the ravaged soul that has been battered by the Pharisees; the ones who claimed to see but were so often blind.
Personalize the equation. Show me who I am – in these hot issues. Give me your heart for my brother. Amen