Romans 15:1-7 Obligation of Care

An Honor to love. Steve and Annette Vincent

I’m in a strange place tonight because of so much going on in my life. I feel God is speaking directly to me in the first two verses in our reading. I know Paul’s instructions are for the Jews and Gentiles as well as the “stronger” and “weaker” brothers and sisters, but my heart needs to cry out tonight in a different direction instead.

I don’t know if I have actually come out and said that I care for my husband who is disabled. If not, tonight is the night to share it then. Ten years prior to our meeting he had gone through brain surgery to remove a tumor. He had obvious physical issues relating to it but that did not prevent us from falling in love and marrying. As time has progressed so have his physical and cognitive issues. Because of the radiation he underwent to kill the tumor, his cognitive functioning has suffered significantly and continues to decline. That is the issue that I am struggling with right now.

NO! I will NEVER stop taking care of him. He will never be put into a care facility. And I will ALWAYS love him no matter what.

But right now I’m hurting. I’m trying to find the balance between caring for him and letting him have room to be himself. He is becoming frustrated with me for the limitations and assistance I am providing to keep him safe. Tonight’s verses speak to me on this front. “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” (verses 1-2).

We are given the “obligation” of caring for one another. This obligation is in response to the care that Jesus has given and continues to give to us. My “obligation” is an honor. I feel very honored to be trusted with the responsibility of caring for my husband.

In these two verses that tell me to continue caring for him I also notice something very important. In my care for him I am not seeking to please myself. I am seeking his good and to build him up. My frustration at how long it takes to take a step or lift a bite to his mouth HAS to end. His safety can’t be compromised but my schedule sure can. As long as his request for extra time or extra space doesn’t put him in jeopardy I WILL honor it.

Please Father God, help me with my patience. Help me know when to back up and when to step in. Help me bolster my husband’s spirit instead of crush it. Show me the balance between safety and independence. Forgive me for my part in his falling today. Forgive me for my response to his lashing out too. He doesn’t understand the reasons for some of my instructions no matter how reasonable they are to me. Help me continue to show him love no matter what we face. I don’t know how much longer You have for us together but I will cherish each day instead of worrying. Give me Your strength and wisdom as we walk together.

For any of you who were expecting something different in our study, please forgive me.

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