You gotta love the first line of today’s reading: Welcome those who are weak in faith,* but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. It is so wonderfully honest, acknowledging that we often have hidden agendas for what we do. You mean that somebody might welcome somebody into a group, not for the sake of treating them with dignity as a fellow human being, but so that we can argue with them and convince them we are right? Yep, apparently so.
Welcome, of course, is meant to be an act of love. But the suggestion here is that it can be turned into an act of violence; of manipulating a person into a place where we can “have at them.” And what is true of welcome can be equally true of other acts of love.
Prayer, for instance, can be used as a tool to spread gossip, or to subtly try and correct the people we are praying with, or to force people into our way of seeing things.
Bible study can become an exercise in self righteousness or pride or the deception that we are doing God’s will when we are doing no such thing. We might simply be considering the intellectual meaning of some words much like we’d study anything else rather than letting those words seep into our very bones and change our lives.
You mean people do that kind of thing? At church? Well, I know at least I do. Perhaps you do too.
These verses call for a humility that is so sadly lacking in the world and even in the church. We all stand before God. We will answer to Him. We all have business of our own we need to take care of without worrying about how bad somebody else is.
May we be willing to trade in our hidden agendas, which secretly serve our insecurities, for God’s agenda. As is befitting those who truly belong to the Lord, may our love for one another be honest, humble and forthright.