What is your first response when you are confronted with someone who doesn’t agree with you? Or, how do you respond when someone does something that really bothers you? In Galatians 6:2 Paul instructs us to; “Bear one another’s burdens, so fulfill the law of Christ.”
What’s the law of Christ? In Gal 5:14 Paul said the law of God could be summed up in these words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” John 13:34 and 1 John 4:21 describe the law as loving one another. When we bear one another’s burdens, Paul says that we fulfilling the law.
How do we bear one another’s burdens? Paul describes it here in verse 1. “If anyone is caught in a sin, restore him in a spirit of gentleness, keeping watch on yourself humbly knowing you too could easily be tempted.” Rather than being annoyed, offended, or reacting to that person who contradicts you, or the coworker who is really bothering you, God says we need to bear with them, and try to see things from their perspective.
Gal 6:4 Paul says, “Let each test his own works.” I like how the Amplified version states this. “Carefully scrutinize and examine and test your own conduct and work.” As we experience that annoying coworker, or feel offended by what that person did, before you pass judgment or react, carefully scrutinize yourself and ask the question, “How would I respond if I was in their shoes? Keeping watch on yourself, takes empathy to recognize that you could fall into the same sin.
When / if we are able to humbly recognize our own propensity to sin, it will give us more grace for those we interact with and will enable us to display God’s love. Paul ends this little section with the reminder that, when we sow to the flesh, we will reap what the flesh produces (corruption), but when we chose to sow to the Spirit, that’s where we find life. “So, don’t grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
So, with that in mind, let’s heed the challenge from Proverbs 7:1-2. “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.”
- When that person says or does something that annoys or offends me, give me the compassion to see things from their perspective so I can give them grace and display God’s love.
- I am capable of the same attitudes, the same actions, I have the same propensity toward following the flesh. I want to keep God’s words as my treasure, His teaching as the apple of my eye, so I won’t follow the lies of the enemy and the desires of my flesh.
- As I experience God’s comfort (2 Cor 1:3-7) in enabling me to overcome my flesh, help me to share that with my brother, gently.