Forgiven Therefore Free: Bearing Burdens

October 20, 2020

“Your brother does not cease to be your brother when he slips or because he offends you.  Instead that’s when he most needs you to show him your love.” 

-Luther, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians.

Living by the Spirit means we bear the burdens of our neighbors, the people around us, in our homes, in our church, on our street, and in our social circles.

When Paul speaks about bearing another’s burdens, he speaks more about the person doing the bearing instead of the person being ministered to.  He speaks of restoration, gentleness, being watchful, humility, and not provoking or envying one another.

If you are like me, “being spiritual” is a loaded phrase.  When I hear “being spiritual,” images of monks and grandmothers in a constant state of prayer come to mind or perhaps a yoga guru who seems to be in a constant trance of peace.  When Paul talks about being spiritual, he isn’t talking about these images you and I may come up with when we think of “being spiritual.”  Paul is talking about those in Christ.  Those walking in the Spirit.

Paul says “you who are spiritual.”  Those of you who walk in the spirit.  Those of you who have Christ.  Those of you whose confidence is not in your own work but in the work of Christ.  We are to restore one another with a spirit of gentleness.

Bearing one another’s burdens does not mean we need to have all the answers for every situation.  It means we enter the struggles of our neighbor with the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  It means we have confidence in the work of Christ and not ours.  It means we point others to Christ.

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