Now may the God of patience and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.
He’s only six years old, but he challenged his dad and me to a game of sandlot baseball. My small group leader and his wife had invited Kristie and me over for dinner. Parker, his son, had just signed up for a local baseball league and was anxious to get some practice in before “tryouts.” We took him up on the challenge.
While neither Mark nor I are major league material, I found that we had to be considerate of Parker’s age and level of experience. Keeping this in mind, I’m okay admitting that two grown adults were defeated in a three-inning scrimmage against a child. I am also reminded of Paul’s words of advice in chapter fifteen of Romans.
The content of his advice is found in verse one: “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not just please ourselves.” This is a tough pill to swallow when one attempts to apply it. Wisely however, Paul points us to the means of successfully applying that advice. “Now may the God of patience and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.”
When a less mature believer wrongs you, sometimes you’re going to have to “take one for the team.” Do we excuse their behavior? No, but we must be considerate of where they are in their walk with the Lord. Rather than being divided by the wrong, we must lean on the Father’s patience and encouragement in order to find a common ground. This is the only way one will become better at being patient with less mature believers. We can witness that patience and the encouragement in the example of Christ Jesus (verse3) It is by modeling Him that, “in one accord, you may with one voice, glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 6).