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Friday, December 7, 2012


Today I'm reading Romans 15:1-6.

15 1-2 Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”
3-6 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!

A beautifully written paraphrase of this passage. Worth reading twice - slowly. Jesus entered into our troubles - leaving us an example to follow with others. It can be messy when you voluntarily step into the ring with someone else's problems. They may not want you there. You could get enmeshed in their drama and then it turns into your drama. You may not have the skills or temperament to handle the situation. You could make things worse!

Boundaries are important and we have to know when our 'help' can actually be helpful and not just add fuel to the fire. That takes some serious discernment and maybe some training. I like Clint Eastwood's movie line "A man's got to know his limitations." It's not a bad thing to know that you can't really help someone else because their problems are beyond you. You have to know when to refer people to someone who is more qualified to help untangle those knots. 

But you can always be a friend who listens and prays, which might be what they need the most anyway. 


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