After any holidays, after all the presents, we go back to every day life. Maybe in this period you could think that we need more patience. Even God when looking to us He will probably think that it takes a lot of patience with us. Unlike us that when we lose patience we become soon angry and quick-tempered, but the Lord remains the God of patience and comfort. Not easily it associates patience with comfort, but instead with endurance or self control. The Lord not only has patience but he also comfort us. The passage of Romans 15:1-6 tells that through perseverance and comfort we might have hope. God’s comfort it’s not felt by a physical contact, but through the Scriptures that produce hope. When we receive the Word of God and its comfort then we might have hope. What hope? The one in God’s promises, which are truths. The apostle Paul wrote: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13). The hope born from the comfort of the Scriptures and believing leads to joy and peace. The believers’ hope fills the heart of joy and peace, which in turn they will abound the hope. The heart reached by God’s comfort produces hope, that will never end in dejection or frustration, but on the contrary they will end in joy and peace, without which there can’t be hope. We cannot imagine a person that trusts in God who’s sad and depressed, for hope is linked to believing. Hebrews reminds us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, so if what we hope it’s based on our believing then it will be substance. This assurance starts from the first verse: “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1).
The apostle wrote referring to the sacrificial flesh, the idols and other traditions, but the passage could be extended and stand out that in every church there are strong and weak believers. Usually who’s strong in the faith and hope has a smugness attitude towards the weaks so that to become arrogant and proud. Who pleases himself denigrates the other and causes problems to him. Paul underlines that if we are strong and we’ve realized a firm hope in believing, peace and joy in the Lord, we should not make trouble for those who have feeble knees. Those who are weak in the faith should not be mortified by those stronger, but look at them as an example. If the strong are really like that, they are called to bear the weaknesses of the weaks. To bear means not to have patience, but to support, help and sustain without weigh down on who’s weak a sense of guilt. He has to be considered as a brother, therefore he has not to be abandoned nor abused. Who’s realized how the love of God has been patient and comforting for him, he will support who’s weak: if he’s slow so he has to pull or push him! What matters it’s not to arrive the first but to arrive together. Jesus did not consider to be the Son of God, but he gave up His glory to give all for us: “The reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me” (Psalm 69:9). For our sake he carried our weaknesses, our sins and transgressions, but he has not given us any sense of guilt, nor he made us feel weak or mortified. Paul reminds instead that looking to Him when we are weak so we are strong, because He is strong comes to sustain us pulling us and not abandoning us. If we live the faith like that so no one should feel alone.
Many are those who feel weak in a church and who live the weaknesses. As for weakness I mean not only the temptation, but actually the lack of strength to face everyday life. For the one who live alone and in loneliness his weakness is to feel lost, and for the parent who wants assure a future to his children but for lack of things and work he finds himself unable. No one has to think to be strong and please himself, as for the Scripture reminds us: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Today if some have become strong, they don’t have to please themselves but work so that everybody will be strong and keep in the path the Lord has placed for them. The mutual support comes from considering that in the church the work of the Holy Spirit manifests within the community, so that it will be possible to achieve a goal: “that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:6). The purpose of our get together is to glorify the Lord. If someone has no strength and cannot praise, although I think we are strong, we have failed as church, because as a community we have to be with one mouth and one mind. Personal praise has to be even that of the whole community as well as the confession. If today we have strength to support others let’s do this with all our strength, consolation and hope! Today we are called to support, maybe in future we may need to be supported. The work that God wants to accomplish in our life will be very good if we allow to be led by the Spirit. May the Scriptures continue to be our comfort and may His Spirit comfort us through them.