Romans Chapter 15

Wow!  What a follow up of Romans 14 about the strength and weakness in the faith of others. Paul continues to encourage those who are more “mature” in faith to be considerate of those who are “less mature” or newer in their journey of faith.  Sounds reasonable enough.  However, it isn’t always easy to do.  Patience, being critical or judgmental, intolerance, divisiveness, jealousy, ego, among others, raises their ugly heads when things or people don’t go our way or agree with us.  It’s not about us.  Paul says, “…even Christ did not please Himself but…” (v. 3).  I think about our contemporary issues that divide us, big issues like prejudices, conservatism vs liberalism, politics; smaller issues like ways we worship, music we sing, what we do for entertainment, and even petty issues, ways we dress, how one drives, what we eat and drink, etc.  Whenever there are “gray areas” there are divisiveness. Paul calls for unity for the glory of God.  Unity begins when we accept one another, “…just as Christ accepted you…”(v. 7)  In unity, the emphasis is in oneness as opposed to the emphasis in differences.  Where does this begin?  I suppose it starts out very innocently, as an example, when I am asked by people, “What is your nationality?” and I respond, “I’m an American” they inevitably say, “No, what is your race?” or “Where do you come from?” Meaning, “How am I different?” from them.  Innocent enough, but it grows to “He/She is different, so I am better than that.” “He/She is not like me.”  Verse 7 says, “…accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.”  Pretty clear to me.