So, yesterday I blogged that it was the responsibility of the person who has a less restrictive conscience to reign it in to serve those with more sensitive consciences.
I should have waited til today, because Romans 15: 1 (in today’s reading) says the same thing:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
And Paul continues in verse 3: “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
Jesus put an exceedingly high premium on the unity of and love between Christians, on serving one another:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another John 13: 34-35
And Jesus prayed about the disciples:
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17: 20-21
Paul knew that such unity among Christians was not easy to achieve. It requires endurance and encouragement. It requires God’s helps – was must ask Him to “grant” it. But it leads to joyous worship:
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15: 5-6
I’m not sure how to achieve this unity, other than mutual service – which Paul calls for in chapter 14 and in the verses that follow verse 6. But it clearly requires God’s power and help.
I’m in a situation that requires more unity than we have, so I’ll ask God to grant deeper harmony – and to show me how better to serve others to facilitate such harmony.
Dear Lord: Grant us unity. Give me both endurance and encouragement to get there. And help me serve. Amen.