Of all the content of chapter 8 the discussion about the weaker and stronger has captured my attention. There is a great danger in our Western world when it comes to this issue of strength and weakness. Classically strength has been celebrated and weakness has been eliminated. In this we can see the basic premise of Natural Selection, thanks Chuck Darwin. Those who are strong are seen as the ones who survive, and those who are weak are the ones pushed to the margins.
I find it interesting Paul does not invest any effort in removing the labels of weak and strong. The fact of the matter is there is truth in these labels. As we are people on the journey, not everyone is at the same place on the journey. Some are learning the basics while others are wrestling with what might be called deeper issues of our journey. There are some who have a deep and strong faith, and there are others who have an emerging, untested or weaker faith. Paul is however, careful to not label as either one as better or worse. They are simply statements of truth.
The issue of the weaker brother or sister is proven more difficult when we look at how we live this out. More specifically the command to not cause another to stumble. I wonder how often I cause another to stumble? Which then leads to the thought, I have been the weaker brother. Connecting to another thought, I am the weaker brother. No matter where we are on the journey, there will always be people on either side of us. The challenge is when we are in the position of strength, to not be the oppressor. We are not to wield our strength against another person's weakness. Remember, there is someone else who could do the same to you.
In the end we are to encourage each other. Life is not a race. It is not a competition to see who can get ahead. Rather the measure of life is found in the journey, and the way you made your way through the journey. There is no such thing as better or worse. We are on this journey together, and the journey can only see fullness together.