We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written,The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
The weak in this verse may refer to a person weak in faith or overtaken in a fault or sin. We are quick to find fault, to add injury to insult, to cast the first stone and regrettably elevate ourselves above them. It is not our nature to bear the infirmities of the weak. We can probably learn a lesson from the wild geese.
Consider the wild geese. The V-formation they use in flying enables them to fly with ease and speed. The point position is the most difficult because of wind resistance, so the geese rotate this position every few minutes. The easiest flight is experienced in the two rear sections of the formation, and the stronger geese permit the young, weak, and older birds to occupy these positions. It is also probable that the constant honking encourages the weaker geese.
Just where are you in this V-formation? The Apostle Paul says, We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. Are you strong in faith? Have you grown spiritually strong so that you can be like the Saviour? If we fail to grow spiritually, it will affect others that need to see Christ in us.
If we are too busy pleasing ourselves, we ought to remember from verse 3, For even Christ pleased not himself. Instead of despising the weak, we should be bearing with them. Often the mercy God intended to bestow upon a burdened soul was meant to be delivered through you.
The words, to bear, do not simply mean to lift a burden from someone or to take it away. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should remove their burden. It has another meaning we should consider. This word also means “to bear with, or to be indulgent to, to endure patiently, not to contend with…” Perhaps, it is more than bringing someone a bag of groceries or a Christmas turkey and presents. Maybe it means a long-term commitment or being there for them until their troubles are resolved.
Sure, you can set out on your own and fly by yourself, but if we are not taking our place in His church, we can not be in formation. We could all learn a few things about serving others from the wild geese and their V-formation. —Pastor Horst