A series of Christian reflections on the application of biblical principles to the art of living.
Whatever community we have in mind, questions arise and abound…
How do we honor – acknowledge and respect – our personhood, our individual beingness, and that of all those with and around us?
How do we lend assistance to others, for all need help from time to time, without usurping their responsibility for themselves?
How do we allow others to assist us without relinquishing our responsibility for ourselves?
How do we deal reasonably and fairly with those who, to us, seem to be quite willing to abdicate their self-care with an intention, however conscious or unconscious, that we will shoulder their burdens more fully?
How do we deal reasonably and fairly with the child or adult, the daughter or son, the spouse or partner, the relative or friend, the compeer or acquaintance, the member of whatever our affiliative groups who, in our view, irresponsibly acts up and irrepressibly acts out, leaving undone those things which ought to have been done and doing those things which ought not to have been done, and seems to be unaware of (or perhaps, all too aware, but insensitive to) the effect of his or her words and actions on others?
I have no ready or easy answers to these questions. However, a key to the beginning of a response, I believe, rests in our wrestling with the whole of the verse: Bear one another’s burdens and, in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6.2; my emphasis).
Here, I perceive a paradox at the core of our human nature. We can “fulfill the law of Christ,” that is, in one interpretation, become individually fully human as God has created us, in part, only as we give ourselves to others. Jesus gave voice to this conundrum, saying, “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16.25).
Selfishness, by which we seek to have and to hold for ourselves, makes our lives a small package of dwarfed human personality and diminished human possibility. Selflessness, by which we seek to give ourselves away for the sake of others, makes for a larger life; for them and for us. A life characterized by heightened awareness of the fullness of the human condition, through sharing in the joys and sorrows of others, and a deepening acceptance of ourselves through the experience of embracing (and allowing ourselves to be embraced by) the joys and sorrows of our own lives.
More to come…
© 2021 PRA