“If You Please …”

1 Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.  3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me”  (Romans 15).

Three times Paul writes this word “please” in connection with how we treat one another—that there is an “oughtness” to it, a specificity to it, and a supreme example of it.  We are obligated to please our neighbor, specifically in order to “edify” him, because that is what Christ would do.  To be strong in the Lord and to be like Him, is to please others instead of ourselves. 

Ah, that’s the rub, is it not?  Pleasing others instead of ourselves!  Is this not the battle we are always engaged in?  Is not the very essence of sin pleasing ourselves instead of our Creator, and as well those others He has created?  And then to do so even at the expense of personal reproach?

Oh, Lord, how we need You to help us not please ourselves!  How we need You to help us learn to “bear the weaknesses of those without strength!”   Help us This Day to be like Jesus in this way.  Amen.