Dealing with the Weak
God knows that people are not at the same level,
some are strong and others are weak; and dealing
with each of them differs from the other. For this
reason the Bible says about dealing with the weak:
"Comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak,
be patient with all" (1Th 5:14).
This verse includes three spiritual elements:
comforting, upholding and patience. The reason
behind stating this commandment may be that many
people do not endure the weakness of the weak. That
is why St. Paul the Apostle says in his Epistle to the
Romans: "We then who are strong ought to bear with
the scruples of the weak and not to please ourselves"
How easy it is for people to criticize the weak and
undermine them whereas the strength is in enduring
those weak and encouraging them to get rid of their
How beautiful is the prophecy which was said
about Jesus Christ in the Book of Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
because the Lord has anointed Me to preach
good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal
the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to those
who are bound" (Is 61:1).
It is a special concern by God towards the poor,
the brokenhearted and the weak.
And at this point we remember the saying of St.
Paul the Apostle "Remember the prisoners as if
chained with them--those who are mistreated--since
you yourselves are in the body also" (He 13:3), which
means not to be haughty with those people nor
despise them rather feel as if you yourselves also are
under the same trials and bounds of the body.
One of the Saints used to weep on seeing a
brethren falling into sin, and when asked why are you
crying? He then remembers the activeness of the
devil and says "If Satan was able to make my
brother fall in sin today, he might make me fall
in sin tomorrow. And this brother may repent
while I may not!!"
With this feeling of tenderheartedness towards
the sinners and the weak, Saints were administering.
Jesus Christ Himself didn't mind responding to the
invitation of the tax collectors and the sinners; He
visited them and was kindhearted to them. When the
Pharisees-in their pride, criticized what Jesus did He
answered them saying: "Those who are well have
no need of a physician, but those who are sick"
(Mt 9:12, 13).
With this same spirit he entered the house of
Zacchaeus the tax collector and when the Jews
grumbled about His entering to a sinner's house He
answered "Today salvation has come to this house,
because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of
Man has come to seek and to save that which was
lost" (Lk 19:9, 10).
And Jesus also allowed the sinful woman to wash
His feet with her tears, wiping them with the hair of
her head when he was at the house of Simon the
Pharisee who in turn didn't like this, God said to Him
"her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved
much" (Lk 7:47) and showed to the Pharisee how this
repenting woman was better than him.
I remember here what the Mahatma Gandhi
of India had done with the outcasts:
Those were rejected and contemned by the Indian
Society that if the shadow of one of them falls on one
of a Hindus he is then defiled. So Gandhi, the great
spiritual leader, went and resided in that outcasts’
district. That was not it; he also demanded that they
should have membership in the Indian Parliament
when India achieved its independence. And that is
how he treated the weak and the despised.
In the Jews society, the Gentiles and the
Samaritans were considered outcasts, but Jesus
Christ dealt with all of them with excessive
tenderness and attracted them to Himself…
Concerning the Samaritans, Jesus gave the Jews
the Parable of the Good Samaritan whom, with his
love, was better than the Priest and the Levite who
were Jews (Lk 10:25-37). He also gave them the
Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector saying
that the tax collector went down to his house justified
rather than the other (Lk 18:14).
About the weak, we remember the saying of
the Bible "comfort the fainthearted".
So who are the fainthearted? They are those
whom are rapidly torn out and get confused quickly,
they also are the ones who fear, weaken, collapse
and may become desperate; they are in a constant
need of external help…
In dealing with such kinds of people we say in our
prayers about the Lord that he is "the help of those
who have no helper; the hope of those who have no
hope; the harbor of those in the storm", which means
that He is the hope of those who are like inside a boat
in a storm and have no helper. It reminds us of the
"A bruised reed He will not break and
smoking flax He will not quench" (Mt 12:20).
Therefore, it was mentioned in the Book of
Zechariah the Prophet when the High Priest stood to
save Joshua the Priest from Satan that he told him:
"The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord… rebuke you!
Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" (Zec 3:2).
So what is the meaning of "a brand plucked from the
fire"? It means that it is like a piece of wood which fell
into fire inside the flames yet it did not turn into
charcoal or ashes, it then found someone who was
able to rescue it from the fire while it was flaming…
This reminds us with what Jude the Apostle said
"others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire"
And so, if you find a desperate person, don't
despise his desperation …
And don't say about him that he has a weak and
incompetent personality; you should rather encourage
him and get him out of his despair. If you find a torn
out person, don't despise his weakness but help him
The man who was healed at the Pool of Bethesda
(Jn 5) had been thirty eight years in his sickness and
didn't find anyone to put him into the pool, God didn't
permit that he becomes desperate in spite of all these
long years with no healing and no help. It was
something which was really worth desperation yet
God finally saved and healed him.
Jacob the father of all fathers feared of his
brother Esau and ran away from him.
Esau symbolized the physical strength,
forcefulness and violence and on the other hand
Jacob represented weakness, fear and fleeing. God
appeared to the poor Jacob who was fearful
encouraging him and saying "I am with you and will
keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to
this land" (Gn 28:15). God kept encouraging him till
he saved Jacob from his brother and also blessed
And so were the people frightened from
Pharaoh who sought after them while fleeing by
They were desperate and frightened, but Moses-in
his deep faith-didn't contemn the fear of the people,
he rather encouraged them saying "Do not be afraid.
Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which
He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight
for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Ex 14:13,
Even the tree which didn't bear fruit for
years, there was a suggestion to cut it down, why
does it use up the ground?! But the tender heart said
"let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and
fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after
that you can cut it down" (Lk 13:8, 9). It’s the
longsuffering of the Lord towards sinners.
God doesn't take people in their weakness or
while they are in sin, otherwise mankind would have
been demolished, but as was mentioned in Psalm
"He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor punished us according to our iniquities. For
as the heavens are high above the earth, so
great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He
removed our transgressions from us ".
And why is that? The Psalm continues and says
"For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are
dust". Indeed, had it not been for God's longsuffering
towards the sinners and the weak; the whole world
would have been demolished, the riches of God's
longsuffering and His goodness lead to repentance
On giving the sinner a chance to repent; you are
helping him with longsuffering as the Bible says "Be
patient with the weak". But if you despise the sinner,
reject and abandon him; this could throw him into
despair continuing in his sin and will be defeated, but
if you are patient with him and if you help him then
you are- as the Bible says- "who turns a sinner from
the error of his way will save a soul from death and
cover a multitude of sins".
It is an easy job to just ignore the sinners, but
having sympathy for them and helping them is a
moral behavior which testifies for the work of the
heart and the will.
The woman caught in adultery, God didn't
despise her and didn't throw her out, He didn't
order that she should be stoned to death; He
rather was compassionate with her and saved
her (Jn 8).
God treated sinners with His longsuffering for a
long time till they repented and became Saints.
Others, God didn't take them in their time of
weakness but He saved them from their weakness.
The Lord dealt with Peter with longsuffering when
he denied Him three times, He then met him after the
resurrection and said to him "Feed My lambs. Tend
My sheep" (Jn 21:15-17).
God also didn't take Thomas in his doubt about
the resurrection, He appeared to him and showed him
His wounds; by that He led him to believing (Jn
"Uphold the weak" because they need an
external help. "Be patient with all" because for
the sinner to come out of his fall, it might need
It would not just happen in a moment that a
sinner could repent of his fall which is having control
over him. He will need some time during which we
should be patient with him.
The word "the weak" might also entails
those who are weak in their talents and
capabilities. As Moses said –when God called him- I
am slow of speech and slow of tongue, I am not
eloquent (Ex 4:10). And once more he said "I am of
uncircumcised lips" (Ex 6:30). But God encouraged
him and aided him through Aaron his brother…
And so did Jeremiah when he said "I cannot
speak, for I am a youth" (Jr 1:6), God encouraged
him saying "For behold, I have made you this day a
fortified city and an iron pillar…They will fight against
you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am
with you," says the Lord, to deliver you" (Jr 1:18,
And so is any person who fears the spiritual life;
we should not despise him rather deliver him out of
his fears, if he is concerned about life of devotion or
of serving then we should encourage him.
Joshua got frightened after Moses' death, but God
encouraged him saying: "No man shall be able to
stand before you all the days of your life; as I was
with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you
nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage" (Js
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