29 September 2015

Bear One Another's Burdens - Do You?

Another little devition I gave recently for our Lord's Supper service...

I was scanning through my Bible app, looking at the section that shows me a snapshot view of all of the verses I have highlighted in the past. 

I run across some that always give me grief as I read them and realize how far off the mark I tend to fall. So I figured I would share some of the grief this morning. 

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3-4)

This verse always comes to mind when I view the way Christians deal with each other online. Pretty much every professing Christian fails in this type of area when they deal with other Christians online.
They treat each other horribly – there is no humility – there is no looking to the interests of others – it is all about making the other person look stupid. It is about being right, not kind of humble. 

Christians are told we should be loving and seeking to outdo others when it comes to showing them honor, as Paul mentions in Romans.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Rom. 10:12)

This one really gets me. It is just so easy to go into defense and self-interest mode in life. Everyone is more concerned with outdoing others in their supposed knowledge. If Christians would only seek to outdo one another in love and honor, what a difference it would make in the church as a whole.
And the last one I will mention is one that is most often on my mind. 

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. (Gal 6:1-4)

For most people, the idea of dealing with other Christians when we see them in some transgression does not mean to restore them, but rather to expose and ridicule them. Sadly so many take pleasure in pointing out the wrong of others, rather than gently seeking to restore them. And rarely is their humility or concern about one’s own actions. 

A fourth century church commentary on this verse stated it nicely, saying:

It is true, and no one is unaware of it, that if we consider honestly our acts and thoughts we find ourselves superior to no one and cannot easily pass judgment on another. For the person who is puffed up as if he were something special is misled, since he does not know that humility becomes a means of growth. 

For he does not have before his eyes the words and deeds of the Savior, who, though he be Lord of all, humbled himself so as to give us a pattern that we might follow should we wish to grow. 

If we were to exult ourselves, we would stumble as a result of the ignorance of a heart elated by the hope of presuming to be more worthy of praise.

It becomes a daily practice to fight back what we want to do, and how we want to react, when it comes to defending our position over that of the other, obviously ignorant people out there. But it is a good practice to do, seeking to fight back our inclination to fight for our rights and our views.

We would do much better to instead seek to approach others with gentleness and compassion, knowing that what we should count them and their interests and more significant than ours, seeking to outdo them in showing honor, and understanding that what may be their transgression today could indeed be ours tomorrow.