January 15, 2021
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
It’s interesting that almost every major religion in history has some form of what we call the “Golden Rule.” In the Bible it’s found in the Gospel of Matthew (“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” – Matthew 7:12) and also Luke (“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” – Luke 6:31). So why is this such a universal instruction?
Maybe it’s because we’re all so bad actually doing it?
The idea behind the Golden Rule is pretty simple: Imagine what it’s like to be others. Put yourself in other people’s shoes! If you’re going to do something to someone, say something to someone, treat someone a certain way, the Golden Rule instructs us to stop and first ask: Hey, if someone was going to treat me that way, how would l feel about it?
This is an exhortation running through much of Scripture: Take the road of humility by putting others first. Jesus did that for us by becoming man and dying for our sins. And we do it for others when we “bear one another’s burdens.” When we choose this road, we are willingly laying down our “easier” burden to carry someone else’s heavier one. We are putting ourselves in their place. We are trying to experience what they experience, to see what they see and feel what they feel. And once we do…we always see the world in a different light. (And with more gracious eyes, too!)
This is one reason (among many) our world is so conflicted right now. Conflict often comes when we are not willing to consider what it’s like to be in others’ shoes, and sadly, that seems increasingly common these days. It’s easy to simply dislike others, disagree with their positions or hate what they stand for; it’s a lot harder to try to see the world as they do. But bearing one another’s burdens can help.
What might you do today to help carry someone else’s challenges in life? More importantly, how might you see others differently by doing so? Let’s ask God to bring new opportunities for us like this today, and to open our eyes anew what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.