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Is weakness permitted?

We all know of several people in the Bible whose aim was to live according to God’s commandments and who assured Jesus that they wanted to stay faithful. Yet what kind of mishaps did they encounter? David became embroiled in an affair with a woman, Peter denied Jesus 3 times, also some of the other disciples found themselves in situations in which they didn’t completely trust Jesus and in which doubts arose.

Even the way in which Jesus dealt with the ‘lepers’ and ‘dissidents’ who were on the margins of the society caused astonishment. Jesus was able to approach the tax collectors, the criminals, adulterers and those sitting on the ‘wayside’. His disciples (or the admirers) were not able to do this, or found it too hard – they were too weak for this.

Being weak is permitted because for us humans it is near to impossible to be like this and to precisely follow Jesus’ example; here we have our limits. Jesus helped the weak, and helped Peter again and again to find his footing after falling several times; this gives us courage! Because if being weak was not permitted then Faith (= succession) would be impossible.

(The apostle Paul, who willingly placed himself into the servitude of Jesus and who worked tirelessly for him, gives an opposite meaning to this when he talks from God’s Perspective: “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2. Cor. 12.9). We all live by grace and all our lives we will continue to depend on God's grace. Nevertheless God will use us in our weakness because it is not about our strength but rather his.)

Why did I put a question mark in the title above when really, the answer is that being weak is permitted?

There is an important distinction that we unfortunately make time after time. We permit our own weakness and our failures and count upon God’s help to pick us up and make us stable.

But something that we don’t permit and where we are relentless in is with the weaknesses of others. Here we judge, we exclude, we slander and we belittle their faith.

Does Jesus also see it like this?

A Christian group and Church congregation invites an expert to discuss this topic “Weakness Permitted…” and exactly this same group including the priest judges the weakness of others through exclusion, isolation and slander and belittling the faith of those who don’t ‘fit the picture’. Jesus always condemned such arrogance to pharisaical behaviour. Where is a Faith of love, where is the desire for forgiveness, where is the reaching out for one another (the way in which Jesus did)? A faith that only knows how to exclude because we judge the weakenesses of others should not be allowed

And despite this we can say: who should judge these groups or these priests? Nobody, because we all do the exactly the same thing. We allow our own weaknesses but judge those of others.

It is because of this that we still have a long way to go before saying: weakness is allowed!

Sent in by anonymous…

Note: perhaps the expert was invited precisely from the recognition of their own weaknesses. Perhaps this evening will bring a change – a change towards greater courage and love. Lets hope so for what use is a faith if we do not learn to believe in ourselves and in Jesus.

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