Third, we speak of the service involved in bearing with others. "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). Thus the law of Christ is a law of forbearance.
Forbearance means enduring and suffering. The other person is a burden to the Christian, in fact for the Christian most of all. The other person never becomes a burden at all for the pagans. They simply stay clear of every burden the other person may create for them. However, Christians must bear the burden of one another. Only as a burden is the other really a brother or sister and not just an object to be controlled.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith. Galatians 6:9-10
Questions to Ponder
In what ways might "bearing with others" have a positive rather than negative connotation?
What do you think of Bonhoeffer's assertion that: "The other person is a burden to the Christian"? Can that be a good way to look at other people?
How does the church "bear with" the larger community that surrounds it?
Cast your burden on the Lord,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
Think of the people in your life. To whom are you a burden? How does it feel?
In what ways do the people in your life help bear your burdens?
Whose burdens are you helping to bear? How does it feel?
Who in your circle of family, friends, and acquaintances is weighed down with heavy burdens? Pray for them in their need and ask God to show you how to help them bear those burdens.
Prayer for Today
Loving God, thank you for bearing with me; make me willing to bear with others.
40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Copyright © 2007 Augsburg Books, imprint of Augsburg Fortress.