“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions” (Romans 14:1).

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Numerous forms of the old joke about the army who shoots its wounded soldiers exist. The joke is funny only to those never wounded! For those wounded, the joke is cruel!

Some people who have spiritual wounds say of the church, “It shoots its wounded.” Who are the wounded? They are the weak. Who are the weak? That is a fascinating question!

First, weakness is a comparative term. If we compare two when one—in a specified consideration—is stronger than the other, one is weak and the other is strong. Take the weak one and compare him or her to someone who is weaker than he or she. Instantly he or she becomes strong and another becomes the weak person.

Second, none are always the strong. Someone always is stronger then “me.” However, the “eternal comparison” is never between two humans. It is always between Christ and us or God and us. In that comparison, we all are weak. If the church shoots its weak, we all will be shot.

Is it God’s objective to save or destroy us? Jesus’ cross is about saving people, not destroying people. Jesus’ resurrection is about hope, not about despair. The testimony is astounding! One in the Bible wrote, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16, 17). Another wrote, “For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died” (1 Corinthians 8:11). He also wrote, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (1 Timothy l:15). Still another wrote, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Arrogance arises from confidence in our strengths. Wisdom arises from acknowledgement of our weakness.

All of us are weak. Please do not shoot me when you see another weakness. Help me! Encourage me to move to greater strength! Do not be concerned about “protecting the church.” God capably does that. Concern yourself with reflecting God’s character in helping the weak. Invest as much in my salvation as God does!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 9 February 2006

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