Being Stronger Does Not Give You More Rights

October 20, 2011

I have two younger brothers, and the youngest is five years younger than me. What I am about to tell you does not leave the room. My youngest brother was sometimes picked on by his two older brothers!

It was never an all out “we are going to beat you up” kind of thing (well not from me anyway!). It was the kind of thing most families do. You know, the ol’ “You hold him down, and I will keep tapping his chest with my finger over and over.” Wrestling around was a normal activity around our house. I am reminded by my wife that it still is when we go back to my boyhood home.

My brother and I picked on our youngest brother because he was smaller. We could get away with it because he was not strong enough to hold his own. We need to be so careful that we are not, intentionally or unintentionally, doing the same thing in life.

We are all different places in our Christian walk. Some have just recently accepted the grace of God and have become united with Christ. Others have already begun to meet hard places in their journey and their faith is being tested. Yet others may be seasoned with age and have a very strong faith. No matter where we are in the journey we must remember to act in love.

Paul writes about this in Romans 14. There was some arguing going on in the church in Rome. Some were having problems with their Christian brothers and sisters eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. They were not partaking in the idol worship ceremony. The meat that would be left over would be sold in the marketplace the next day and some Christians were buying it. Paul here says that there is nothing wrong with eating the meat but he understand that some brothers (the weaker) will still not be able to eat it because it will shake their faith.

The same kinds of things happen today. What should our response be?

Do not put up a stumbling block! These weaker brothers may have lost their faith or it may have been seriously shaken if they were pressured to eat the meat with the others. In the same way there are things that may shake the faith of other Christians around. If another Christian has a problem with something we eat or drink or maybe even something we watch, then we do not invite them to that activity. It is a sin to them! To ask them to join would be to invite them into sin. Be aware of the things that bother your brother or sister’s conscience.

Act in love always. Our response to the weaker brother should never be “Well you just need to get over it!” Just as anything you consider sin (or that the Bible specifically calls a sin) would be wrong to do, it is the same with the. To act in a way otherwise is to trivialize what that person considers sin. Do not put your brother or sister down just because you want to continue drinking wine. I have been known to have a beer or a glass of wine now and then, but if a brother or sister’s faith was on the line, you had better believe that I would not drink it anymore! Verse 19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” We are to build up, not tear down. Even if that means giving up our “rights.”

Do all you do to bring God glory. Paul writes that whether someone eats meat, or they consider it a sin, we do it all to bring God glory. Take some time and check your motives. Are you partaking in the activities in which you partake to bring God glory? Or are you doing these things just because they have always seemed cool and you can now finally do them? As we are told, whether in word or deed, we do it all for the glory of God.

What is a weaker brother or sister to do? Please do not be afraid to talk with a brother or sister whose actions are bothering you. If it is causing you to stumble, maybe with a past sin or a present one, go to that brother or sister and let them know. As the other brothers and sisters are to check their motives, make sure you check yours as well. Go to them in humility and let them know you are doing this because you have been tempted to fall, or have fallen to sin as a result.

We are all to help one another out. Nothing I do on this earth is as important as our heavenly reward. Paul also writes that we do have the right to do anything, but do we always do it? NO! Once our “rights” cause a brother or sister to stumble they are no longer our rights.

Live in love! Encourage your brothers and sister in Christ to live pure lives before the Lord. Do not cause someone to stumble.

Are you willing to give something up for the sake of a brother or sister? How difficult would it be?


4 Responses to “Being Stronger Does Not Give You More Rights”

  1. Colten said

    hmmmm i dont agree with the opening paragraph… it was all you… haha

  2. […] Being Stronger Does Not Give You More Rights October 20 […]

  3. […] wrote a post a while back about how being stronger does not give someone more rights. In this post though I want to focus on our attitude when we are interacting with “the weaker […]

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