“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Sometimes it’s hard to accept other people, isn’t it? Especially when they’re annoying. Like the nerdy guy at church who always tries to sit by you and talk to you, even though you can’t stand him. Or that girl in your connect group who talks about herself ALL the time, which you are definitely sick of hearing. Or maybe it’s that new girl who’s really quiet, but always seems to be following you around. Can’t she get a life?
Often, it’s tempting for us to ignore or even make fun of people that bother us. After all, you’ve got to let out your frustrations somehow! But Paul says we should have a different approach to the people around us. Read the verses at the beginning again.
God’s desire is for us to be united as Christians. That means more than just saying we all believe the same things. It means we should be unified-in agreement, at peace, drawn together. Part of unity is loving and accepting other people, even when they are different from us.
Check out verse 7 of Romans 15. It says that we should accept other people, just as Christ accepted us. You may be thinking it’s a lot harder for you to accept your crabby younger sister than it was for Christ to accept you. Think again. Christ accepted you (and me and everyone else) when we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). If you’re not already aware of this, sin is disgusting to God. He hates it. That means that Christ accepted us when we were pretty disgusting to Him. That’s well beyond annoying. But He loved us, and so He was able to see past our flaws.
Now that we belong to Christ, we also need to let our love motivate how we act toward people. Verse 1 says that we who are strong need to put up with the weaknesses of others. Even those who have really annoying weaknesses. Jesus didn’t just love people that were fun to be around or agreeable. He loved even the most disgusting, annoying, mean, odd and just plain weird people. And He loved them the same amount. We should strive to do the same.