Let’s read Romans 14:1-4, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” (NKJV)

We learn from this important portion that ‘weak’ brothers and sisters in Christ are to be received into the local assembly. A ‘weak’ brother is different than a ‘young’ brother. The young brother is new born to the faith and likely has little or no knowledge of the Word of God. He would certainly have a clear understanding of the Gospel; otherwise he would not be saved. The weak brother would be one that has possibly been saved for a while, but has not followed the instruction of 2 Peter 3:18 which tells us to, “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Too often we might think that as long as we are saved, that’s really all we need to know. That could not be farther from the truth. The Lord tells us in Matthew 11:29, “…learn of me…” The Lord wants us go on to maturity by feeding upon His Word…learning about Him and His will for our lives. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If a weak brother comes among us, we should accept him, realizing he may have some improper ideas and concepts. When we do not spend time in God’s Word, we normally base our beliefs on what ‘seems’ right to us. More often than not, these ideas will be incorrect. For instance, this weak brother may believe that it is wrong to eat meat. I Corinthians, chapter 8 tells of those who would buy meat that had been offered to idols. Paul taught that although it was perfectly fine to eat this meat, some were still offended by this. 1 Corinthians 8:7 says, “Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” So, this weak brother may insist on eating only vegetables so that he is sure not to eat that meat.

If there is one weak among us, we should be careful not to offend his weak conscience in this non-essential matter. I say this is a non-essential matter because 1 Corinthians 8:8 tells us, “…for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” Of course, if a weak brother began to teach things contrary to the Word of God, he would be drawn aside and taught the truth of the scriptures, but in a matter such as eating meat, there is no need to criticize or despise him because of his weakness. Rather, according to Romans 15:1, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” May we who have grown and are stronger in the Lord watch out for the weak and young ones in Christ. May we take the time to nurture them. May we bear with our weaker brothers and sisters as we seek to instruct them in the Word of God and help them to become mature in the Lord. (173.7)