Answered by: BibleAsk Team

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How can I deal with the weak brother in church?

There are two types of weak brothers (members) in the church:

The First Type of Weak Brother

The first type is described in the following passage by Paul: “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:1-4).

This weak brother is hypersensitive to sin that he sees things as sinful that aren’t really sinful in themselves. Therefore, the “strong” Christian should not condemn the “weak” brother for his over-scrupulous attitudes, but should rather limit his own liberties so he doesn’t become a source of stumbling to the weak brother. “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).

If there is a need for judgement, let it not be a censure of others but a made with an effort so that it will not lead the brother to fall. Paul explains that men are certainly accountable, not to one another but to the Lord, who is the fairest judge. The Christians, who are strong in faith will consider the feelings and consciences of their weaker fellow believers and will not hurt or confuse them. The strong Christian should not use his liberty to hurt a fellow believer who is “weak in the faith” (Romans 14:1). 

Also, the “strong” brother should not teach his “weak” brother that it’s okay to violate his conscience (Romans 14:23). The “strong” brother should be patient and kind toward the “weak” brother and should teach his “weak” brother that his conscience should be better informed or educated by God’s Word instead of other guidelines.

The Second type of Weak Brother

The second type of a “weak” member is the one that is spiritually and morally weak because he has not developed habits of self-discipline. Paul gives advice for dealing with him as well: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

In this case the “strong” brother can help the weak brother by praying and teaching him the scriptures step by step as a child in Christ that he may overcome his weaknesses by God’s grace.

In dealing with those who have fallen into sin we should practice the golden rule (Matthew 7:12). This is the duty and responsibility of those who are themselves led by the Spirit and who are doing God’s will. Not every body is qualified for such sensitive work. God calls only those who are “spiritual” to guide the weak who fell into the paths of sin.

Paul dealt strictly with those who continued in open sin 1 Corinthians 3:3–5) but kindly and patiently with those who showed willingness to be restored (2 Corinthians 2:5–11). Church discipline should be done through a mixture of firmness and kindness. Paul never lowered the high standards of the God, but his goal was ever the salvation of men and women and their restoration to Christ when they went astray (Matthew 6:14, 15; 7:1–5; 18:10–35). 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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