Love Trumps Everything

From the sermon on Romans 14:1-4, on May 30.

The weaker brother is tempted to judge the stronger brother, and the stronger brother is tempted to despise the weaker brother. Paul says the weaker brother only eats veggies, so he is tempted to judge and shake his head at his meat-eating brother. And the brother who is grilling steaks on the grill and drinking beer is tempted to despise and look down on the brother who sticks with his veggie burger and lemonade. Both men are breaking the law of love. Love trumps everything. So the judgmental brother gets cranky, but he is called to receive his brother. The one who is despising the weaker brother wants to set him straight, but Paul wants him to receive his weaker brother.

There is always a deeper right than being right. God may not care about whether we eat alfalfa sprouts or not, but He does care about the judging and the despising we do. The more I have thought about this, the more I see how often we can fall into one ditch or the other: either looking down on the weak or passing judgment on the strong. Love trumps everything.

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17 thoughts on “Love Trumps Everything

  1. That is such a good remind! I don’t want to be in either ditch! I do have a question on how to stay out of the ditch! ๐Ÿ™‚ How do you love and inform at the same time? Since you mentioned drinking… let’s use that as the example. I hope do you lovingly change the culture from “drinking isn’t sin BUT we shouldn’t do it!” to “drinking if fine and we can glorify God even through our drinking?” My church would say that drinking isn’t a sin, but they sure act like it is. I have always been baffled by this. Could you please give some insight on how to let LOVE be overflowing from our culture changing! Thanks for your wisdom! The Lord has used you in my life more then you will EVER know! I praise God for you!

  2. Kim, it’s rare that the “weaker brother” recognizes himself as such. Isn’t that the hardest part? We’re hoping to encourage a maturity – lovingly – but it’s slow-goin’ until the brother can tell the difference between sin and not-sin. It is tough. I’ll be glad to hear some Femina advice.

  3. Thank you! This was well-timed, my heart has been struggling with this, and this was a good reminder.

  4. Nancy-
    I love that you remind us of this truth that we so often overlook in our human way of creating rules where none are needed.

    In your book The Fruit of Her Hands, I was so refreshed by your encouraging words that we need to obey God and not judge each other over things like food, alcohol etc. It was the first time I felt free from the pressure that other women seem to put on their methods. Free to explore the method that my husband wanted instead. Thank you for sharing this wisdom with younger women. It has grown me and blessed me, and my husband and children too!!

  5. Lately I’ve been contemplating who actually is the weaker brother. I used to think it was them; but maybe it has really been me, all this time. It was Sunday. One of the communion helpers stood up to serve, (with his shirt tails un-tucked!)and I could hear my offended upbringing trying to scream. Now I’m wondering if maybe I wasn’t the weaker brother. Could it be that all of those objectionably clothed, not yet conforming, or unschooled in pious Christian subtleties are actually closer to love? Is it possible I’ve become weak, the one who now needs to be strengthened, re-learning what is good and what the Lord requires of me?

  6. “The one who is despising the weaker brother wants to set him straight, but Paul wants him to receive his weaker brother.”

    This is very hard. I’ve noticed in discussions about things where people feel themselves to be in the position of the stronger brother, they always want to go SO FAST to the “but we need to teach him the biblical view for his own good” part of it. But I think we really need to learn to live with people’s scruples first, and THEN, once we’ve achieved peace with one another on the subject, we can gently move to “setting them straight.”

  7. Thank you! I just finished listening to this sermon on our Kirkshire CD – it gave me such good food for thought and was quite convicting.
    Hopefully, we’ll be there in person someday to hear it live. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I think this is wonderful. Since you did say you were looking for entertainment in the post above this, here is my attempt. You have the weaker brother, the stronger brother AND the fair brother (or sister)…That would be me in this case. You can have an apetizer of salad and water, then eat a big fat steak with a beer, finishing off with a chocolate dessert with milk and lowfat coffee. What do you think of this?

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