The Treatment Fifteen Pounds

The Treatment Fifteen Pounds

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. Romans 14:1

When in treatment for chemical dependency, I watched most of the other guys quickly put on 10 or 15 pounds in just a couple weeks. Abstinent from chemicals, their appetite awakened and they began eating. It wasn’t necessarily healthy, but it was far healthier than the lifestyle they’d been living on the outside. As a physician, I noticed it, but the treatment counselors didn’t seem too concerned. They had other priorities – like teaching the addict not to kill himself with chemicals. Perhaps a healthy diet needed to be addressed eventually, but at that time, it wasn’t the top priority. These guys just needed to first learn to live without drugs and then they could begin to address their other problems.

As Christians, we sometimes get our priorities backwards when dealing with those who are seeking or those who are new to the faith. We often place unreasonable expectations on the newcomer that hinders them from first finding a relationship with the father. We may expect them to adopt our political views, or we may expect them to look and dress in a certain manner before coming to our church.

In today’s passage, Paul commands that we extend some grace to the one who is new or weak in the faith. We must welcome him in, avoiding arguments over those things that exist in the realm of opinion. There are those things that, as Christians, we must agree on. There are doctrines that we must teach from day one. There are also however, those things upon which reasonable Christians disagree. When it comes to those issues, we shouldn’t burden the immature by insisting they agree with us on everything.

Like the newcomer to treatment must first find sobriety, the one seeking faith must first find a relationship with God. That is the priority. As we grow in our faith, God can and does work on new things. As we mature, we will discover different areas in which we need to grow. We don’t need to be perfect however before we come to God or to church. God meets us where we are and as Christians, we must meet others where they are.

Paul said we must be careful not to repel the seeker with our petty preferences and opinions. In grace and love, we must lead others to a relationship with Jesus Christ, so that they may know him and the transforming power of his resurrection. That is the priority.

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