Romans 15:1-2 (The Message translation)
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?"
The words of the apostle here in Romans is to remind us our goal is not to seek out that which can be lawfully done, but instead focus on our conduct and how it may affect others. The grace of Christ allows us freedom from the law, but we must be mindful of those we are weaker and look to us for direction. The strength God gives us allows us to help others, but we must remember not to allow pride to step in and push aside our good works. We all need to be helpers to one another, caring and loving those around us and asking how we can serve.
I read an impressive story of a university chaplain who picked up an author from the airport in his new pickup truck that would be providing a keynote speech at a leadership conference. The author had just traded away a similar truck and the two began to bond over their truck stories. They laughed at the bumper sticker humor that said, “Nothing is more beautiful than a man and his truck.” There are probably some of you who can relate to owning a truck and keeping up its appearance. The next day the chaplain was back to pickup the author to carry him back to the airport. As the author went to step into the chaplain’s new truck he realized dents and scrapes down the side of the truck. Curious he asked, “What happened to the truck?” The chaplain replied that his neighbor’s basketball goal had fallen over and damaged the side of the truck. The author said that was terrible; you can still smell the newness of the truck. The chaplain responded, “It’s even worst. The neighbor does not feel responsible for the damage.” Jumping to his new friend’s defense he asked the chaplain wasn’t he going to contact the neighbor’s insurance or try to recover the damages. No was the response of the chaplain. “After a lot of soul-searching and discussions with my wife about hiring an attorney, it came down to this: I can either be in the right, or I can be in a relationship with my neighbor. Since my neighbor will probably be with me longer than this truck, I decided that I'd rather be in a relationship than be right. Besides, trucks are meant to be banged up, so I got mine initiated into the real world a bit earlier than I expected." Wow! If only all of us could learn the importance of maintaining relationships over just being right. Proverbs says, “Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you.”