The ministry of bearing one another’s burdens is at the heart of the Church and the “one anothers” that we read about in the New Testament. In Galatians 6:2, we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). One of the greatest examples of this is seen in Philippians 2, which talks about how Jesus bore our sin in full.
Although we’re not like Jesus in the sense that we can pay for sin, we are like Jesus in that we’re called to take up our cross by dying to self for the sake of others.
In his book, Life Together, the late Dietrich Bonhoeffer says:
“It is the fellowship of the Cross to experience the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian.”
In many cases, we might have to sacrifice what is a better option for us in order to bear the burden of a brother or sister in Christ. We will have to take those burdens and walk alongside those who are in trial, even when life would be easier without them.
Relationships are costly; they require a lot from us. But as we bear burdens, concerns, and stresses, we reflect Christ’s humility. Individualism and keeping our distance is easier, but it doesn’t cultivate oneness and unity like burden-bearing.
This is the nitty-gritty reality of being part of a community where we’re all sinners. We must continually forgive, show patience towards one another, let love cover sin, and bear with one another.
As Bonhoeffer says, “He who is bearing others knows that he himself is being borne [by others too], and only in this strength can he go on bearing.”
What a powerful truth. We each must be willing to absorb body blows at times and let our pride be wounded as we love others. And we must humbly acknowledge that others are doing the same to us and for us.
This article was originally published at https://indycrowe.com/2019/05/15/help-from-bonhoeffer-on-humility-and-unity/.