Bear One Another’s Burdens (revised)
Sharing Christ's Sufferings
Galatians 6:2 (KJV)
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
In our effort to follow the second command of Christ, to love your neighbor as you love yourself, we're given assistance with this clear instruction from Paul. It can be done by bearing one another’s burdens. As we do so, we effetely carryout another of Paul’s directives found in Philippians.
Philippians 2:4 (NIV)
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Community involves the consideration of those other than ourselves. The “Body of Christ” is a community of believers, and we certainly have the responsibility of sharing in each other’s burdens. When a person has a problem or is faced with a concern, big or small, it matters to that person. To turn our back to that matter or at the very least not consider it, is in effect telling that person that they, along with their issue... don’t matter. How much love would we be showing if we were to do that?
If you've ever had the occasion of being inside a waiting room - be it a hospital, unemployment, or other service facility... then you've seen as well as felt the condition described here. All around are people with the face of anguish and despair. Often, those who work in this capacity develop a sense of indifference. Their task becomes routine and the people they're serving are reduced to a statistic, a number, or simply... just business as usual. Being in community requires removing ourselves from isolation, and recognizing that we have an effect on those around us. By the same token we are also affected by them as well... as we should be. Not to be affected is what becoming callous and void of compassion is all about.
Every day, just about everywhere you look, there is a glimpse of the downtrodden, those who are experiencing hardship. We've created labels for them. We call them street people, poor, homeless, and even... bums. We see them as a problem and they are... but of what type? We want them handled, dealt with... but in what way? We wish they would just go away... or at least away from where we are. Doesn't that just push them upon someone else? Someone who probably feels the same way... only to handle them in the same manner. How much of their burden are we willing to bear? I ask these questions as one who has lived in their shoes and also as one who now makes an effort to assist them... one who gives them a voice... one who bears their burden.
Compassion(ChangeTheWorld) - AndrewWitt
Mercy... A Personal Act Of Kindness
Remember, love is an active thing... not passive. It should be displayed to others and given out first… only then can it really be received.
Many of the people on the street, look at themselves without dignity. Society has created an invisible class system, fueled by an US and THEM attitude. This goes a long way to destroy the self-esteem of those existing as outcasts of the mainstream. The money and food given them from time to time, is only a Band-Aid solution. It exist for the brief moment. More lasting solutions are needed. Of the good programs already in place, they are too few in number, and greatly overwhelmed. A good first step to help relieve the burden, is in taking a real concerned look. The root cause needs to be seen without the rose colored glasses. I'll never forget the night a stranger made me feel like a human being again... simply by taking the time to talk to me like one. I'll always thank God for him and the sense of self value he gave back to me. It was this small act of kindness, his outpouring of love that brought me out of despair.
If I seem like I take this personally, it's because I do. That night, this stranger took me personally... not the homeless. I felt his personal investment in me... that's a game changer. He made me see myself as he saw me... as a person of value and worth who needed a little bit of love. I was no longer a hopeless and homeless bum, living without dignity. This stranger looked at me the way that Christ looks at all of us... more important... he helped me see the view.
When Love Is Seen
When we give love, and do so unselfishly, it allows a display that can be seen by all; especially by those who are unbelievers. Wasn’t it Christ who gave concern to us first and reached out to address our situation of sin? I remind you that as members of the “Body of Christ” we are further commanded to love one another as He has loved us. That means taking the initiative. We must seek to attend to those needs, the ones we see in others… in other words – to go about the business of “Mercy Ministry.”
God’s mercy, an extension of His love for mankind, was the force that gave us Christ in the first place. Jesus, as our savior and redeemer (John 3:16) is the biggest act of mercy. It's God's grace with an exclamation point. Mankind's burden of sin and its payment of death were taken on by Jesus when He suffered the cross. Our bearing the burden of each other’s interests, concerns, and or needs is but a small and limited imitation of what Christ has already done. While it may be viewed as suffering by some... it’s really nothing... a small thing to suffer at best. Consider the reality of our fellowship with Christ as expressed in these passages.
Romans 8:16-18 (NIV)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.