In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. –Romans 8:26
My father taught me two important lessons about the human condition. First, he taught me to be kind to others on the journey because everyone is fighting a battle. Second, he reminded me that every human being has a structural weakness. Some of us struggle with greed, others fear. One person battles lust and another pride. We each have an Achilles heel and we keep it carefully hidden beneath a veneer of self-sufficiency and success. Survival of the fittest teaches us to exploit the weaknesses of others; Jesus teaches us to bind the wounds of others, not revel in discovering them.
F.B. Meyer, a Baptist evangelist and pastor from England, once said that when we see a Christian in sin, there are two things we do not know. First, we do not know how hard he or she tried not to sin. Second, we do not know the power of the forces that attacked him or her. And who knows what we would have done in the same situation.
To keep from feeling shame, we are often tempted to be more aware of the faults of others than the glaring weaknesses others probably already see in our lives. Jesus asked, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye (Matthew 7:3)?”
There is no doubt that structural weaknesses need to be dealt with. In the material world, faulty engineering can prove fatal. In the spiritual world, unchallenged character flaws can be equally catastrophic. The goal is for each of us to be healing agents who instinctively bind up the wounded, encourage those who are beaten down and restore those who have fallen.
Jesus Christ referred to His enemy, Satan, as “the Accuser.” In our haste to defend ourselves and our doctrines, let’s be quick to realize that each person we meet is trying to make a go of their lives. Playing judge and jury forces us into a self-righteousness that human beings weren’t made to possess. Instead, we have the opportunity today to be the Encourager. When we see someone struggling, we can join our prayers with the very prayers of God for His troubled saints. The great benefit to living this way is that others will repay the favor with mercy and so will God. Who can you encourage today?
1. Are you willing to admit to your structural weakness to grow stronger in your faith?
2. Do you know someone who is struggling today and what you can do to encourage them?
Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 147:3