We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.” Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (Romans 15:1-7)
The Roman church was a diverse community. It was made up of Jews and Gentiles, slaves and free people, rich and poor, strong and weak. So it was difficult for them to accept one another—hence the need for Paul’s advice on ways to be unified.
Scripture is a resource we can use to keep unified and to encourage one another. The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward people as well as our thoughts on the present and the future. The more we know about what God has done in years past, the greater the confidence we have about what he will do in the days ahead. As we read our Bibles diligently, we increase our trust that God’s will is best for us. We can then encourage others as we have been encouraged.
Accepting means taking people into our homes as well as into our hearts, sharing meals and activities, and avoiding racial and economic discrimination. By going out of our way to avoid favoritism, we show the love of Christ in a powerful way. Be proactive about greeting those you don’t normally talk to, and seek common ground for fellowship. Invite someone over for a meal or for coffee. In this way you are accepting others as Christ has accepted you, and God is given glory. Another good way to show acceptance is to work together with someone. You might choose a ministry you don’t normally get involved in at your church and put your talents to work.