The Characteristics of Weaker Brethren
[Please read Romans chapter 14 before going through the discussion in this article].
Romans 14 has a splendid description of the characteristics of a legalistic person who is called the weaker brother. This is a great passage about how to think grace toward someone who does something obnoxious or unspiritual.
Remember, we all have areas of weakness.
You may be the stronger believer in some of your areas of strength and a weaker brother in areas of weakness.
The idea in both cases is to avoid legalism and judgmentalism.
The strong believer in Romans 14 is mature, oriented to grace, the plan of God, occupied with Christ and operates in fellowship most of the time under the power of the Holy Spirit.
The weaker brother has one or more of the following characteristics
- The weaker brother is disoriented to grace, especially in the area of spirituality and practices one or more forms of legalism.
- He is not comfortable unless he is judging the stronger believer in some gray area of behavior.
- The weaker brother is strong on scruples, but not well informed about doctrine or divine viewpoint.
- The weaker brother operations on criteria of feelings, emotions, traditions, experiences, background, instead of Bible truth.
- The weaker brother operates in the energy of the flesh, producing human good like wood, hay stubble which he thinks is divine good like gold, silver and precious stones.
- The weaker brother is proud and critical of the strong believer, always judging him.
- The weaker brother sticks his nose into the affairs of others by gossiping, maligning and judging.
- The weaker brother likes to set up a mold and try to squeeze everyone into it, so he is a bully.
- The weaker brother has a guilt complex, so he is emotionally unstable; he is sensitive and demands attention; he is full of self pity and lusts for approbation in his sin nature.
- The weaker brother is jealous of others and tries to discredit them; he nit picks and condemns the activities and projects of others.
- The weaker brother is weak because he resists grace doctrines. He can recover quickly by confessing sin, being controlled by the Holy Spirit and pursuing a program of intake of Bible truth which will make him spiritually strong.