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I like bringing people food.

I’m sure that surprises no one.  I like to cook and I like to be helpful so cooking for people when they need a little encouragement is exactly my jam.  It’s my preferred way of “bearing of my brother’s burden.”

I know how very much it blesses me when someone does it for me.

I read these somewhat paraphrased words from Bonhoeffer  this morning and it reminded me of the underside of bearing my brother’s burdens, the side that’s less sexy and less fun and less creative—the side of burden bearing that no else can see or give me credit for.

“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. 

In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross.  While it is true that only the sufferings of Christ are the means of atonement, he shares with his disciples the fruits of his passion, so that the Christian must now also bear the sins of others. But he would certainly break down under this burden, but for the support of him who bore the sins of all. 
The passion of Christ strengthens him to overcome the sins of others by FORGIVING them.  Christ bears our burdens, so ought we to bear the burdens of our fellow men, which is quite literally his sin.  And the only way to bear that sin is by forgiving it in the power of the cross of Christ in which I now share.  
Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which is now my duty to bear for my brother.”  
I’ve been thinking about it all morning.
Bearing my brother’s burdens means quite literally bearing his ultimate burden, which is his sin.  It’s not so easy to do that and it’s not so easy to show others that that’s what I’ve done.  Not nearly as evident as when I bake someone a pie or make them some soup.
When Christ forgives us, He is giving us life’s greatest blessing and bearing our greatest burden, showing us what it really means to be our brother’s keeper.  We take on the burden of our brother’s sin by forgiving him and we do so  by the same Power and by the same Name that we have been forgiven.
I think I’ll be pondering that one for a long time to come.
And I’ll still make soup.
Have you ever read Bonhoeffer?  This is paraphrased from his book Life Together.
Happy Monday, lovies!

21 comments on “What It Really Means to Bear My Brother’s Burdens”

  1. I haven’t read any of his books but Life Together is actually in a stack of books by my bed waiting to be read and I look forward to digging into it. I’ve never heard of forgiving others going hand in hand with bearing one anothers burdens and it’s going to take more thought (at least) for it to really soak in for me. I love your posts that challenge me and help me be more deliberate in my thoughts and actions. 🙂

  2. I confess, I have been having a crush on Bonhoeffer for the last few years (shh, don’t tell my husband! Lol!). I’ve read Eric Metaxes biography, but want to read it again with highlighter in hand. I remind myself often “When Christ calls a man, he bids him ‘Come and die’.” Dying to self, serving others, bearing burdens…all part of living in community, which was something Bonhoeffer believed and practiced. So happy that you are back to being a blogger that blogs. 😉

  3. You are such a good influence on me – and I’m sure other readers as well. Always enjoy reading your posts, newsletters, recipes, etc. God bless!

  4. Bonhoeffer has repeatedly crossed my path in the last few months, which must mean it is time to read some of his works, so that I may get to know this fellow. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is an interesting and tiemly challenge. . . it seems that living in deeply relational ways runs counter to our bottom-line, fix-it culture. I have learned much about burden bearing from friends who have endured and persisted with me through hardship and heartache. When I was running on empty, they spoke truth. When my prayer tank ran dry, they prayed. When I was paralyzed in my faith, they brought me to the feet of Jesus. Thank you Father for the gift of faithful and faith-filled friends!

  6. Simply BEAUTIFUL blossoms! Love both the hibiscus and daffodils and am reminded my irises sprouted back in October and the shoots have been growing taller ever since. I have no idea what's going to happen to them when (if?) winter ever comes to Southern California.Hugs and blessings,

  7. No need to apologize! I’m always delighted to spark conversation. I can’t really disagree with you about Peeta. I do totally get the yin/yang appeal and powerful aspect of their relationship and I do think they are a good pair. However, I felt like Gale got thrown under the bus in the last book and that there was a lot more to him than “rage and hatred,” especially now that the war was over. I think that’s what really bothered me in the end — not who Katniss ended up with, but that Gale was needlessly villanized.Thanks for sharing! Very well stated and thought-provoking.

  8. 40 bucks? That’s higher than I remember.I was also puzzled by the lack of American birds, but the British bird turned out to be quite plump and tasty, much like the British themselves.Oh, and congrats on the Costco membership. I was under the impression that you were going to pass on that, seeing as your time on the peninsula is drawing to a close (for now, at least).

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