On Bearing Another’s Grievance

July 16, 2016
Bearing One Another’s Grievance

One of my favorite verses from scripture is from the book of Galatians — it says to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2). The “law of Christ” is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength — and love your neighbor as yourself.” In fact, Jesus says all the commandments of the Bible can be summed up with these two simple, yet profound statements.

What he did not say, is “Bear One Another’s Grievances” against each other. He specifically stresses the importance of love and forgiveness — even when the offending party does not know they have caused great harm. Among the last words He uttered while dying on the cross was compassion for those who were cruelly crucifying Him — he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His forgiveness and death so impacted one of His torturers that the Roman soldier said, “surely this man was the son of God.”

So how do we address grievances and evil others do to us — or even more complex, how do we address grievances held by our loved ones against those who have mistreated them? Are we being “disloyal” to a friend who has been slighted, betrayed, even hurt by others if we do not hold strong bias and/or grievance against the offender? Maybe we should ask ourselves the simple question, “what would Jesus do?”

There are, of course, situations where one can forgive yet NOT put themselves back into a position to be hurt again. I remember reading about a woman who had been terribly abused by her father as a young girl. She had forgiven him, even talked to him about his mistreatment and expressed her hurt and her forgiveness. But with the forgiveness, she would not let him be alone with her own daughter (his granddaughter). Forgiveness does not mean unsafe boundaries.

But thinking again about bearing another’s grievance, I have seen such tremendous hurt and broken relationship when we expect, even insist, that others bear our grievances. The thought goes, “how can you truly love me when this person has hurt me so badly — how can you still have a relationship with them?” To this I say, “why do you insist that others bear your grievance?” If forgiveness has truly been offered, the offended should want others to reach out to the offender and, perhaps, through love and gentle persuasion the offender will understand the hurt that has been caused.

We are on this earth for such a short time…why let hate, bitterness, and grievances build up like chains around our souls? Seek to truly forgive, and then allow others to move as God would have them and reach out to the offenders instead of bearing your bitterness and grievances — even “justified” grievances.
You see — the truth of the matter is that, at the end of the day, we are ALL offenders to someone. It is only through God’s grace that we have forgiveness and mercy. Let us seek to be healers in this life, not grievance holders. We will have a much more satisfying and blessed life, and so fulfill the deepest truth and meaning of the scriptures and our faith.

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Sunrise — Tampa Florida (MacDill AFB)

Sunrise -- Tampa Florida (MacDill AFB)

I was driving into work this morning and just had to pull over to the side of the road and snap this picture. I love living in Tampa and having the opportunity to see the wonder of God’s handiwork every day!

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Decision to write

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“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Socrates

After many years I “pick-up pen” (or keyboard) and begin to write again.  In my teens and early 20s I use to write regularly in a journal, but somewhere in my mid-20s I put aside the journals — reason why?  At the most “shallow” level I can blame being busy with career, wife, and budding family.  I’m pretty sure there is a deeper reason.  Perhaps I didn’t want others to have “access” to those deeper, very personal thoughts — there is a voice deep inside that says, “its not what a Man should be writing and certainly not sharing openly.”  Which brings me to my first quote (I love the simplicity and brevity of a good quote—and will use them often):

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”      Henry David Thoreau

I’ve had some very good friendships over the years and while it is probably overstating the issue, I think Henry David Thoreau has a point.  Men/Women are often trying to “find themselves” and make sense of this life.  How very sad that it seems so many don’t do “their own work” and find the “song” that God has placed in them.  

In my own experience, I found my writing was focused in trying to “find myself” via two primary means:

  • A deep spiritual awakening, or
  • Through someone else via a romantic relationship.  

In fact, in my early journals I often found myself wrestling with either the deepest thoughts of life and death or the most shallow of questions such as,  “does she still like me?”  Maybe one reason I quit writing was that I found my “spiritual base” of what I believed at 16, and when I got married I didn’t have to wrestle with the dating/personal guy/girl relationship issues (though marriage offers a whole new set of issues and I still sometimes ask, “does she still like me.”  :)).  I also began teaching in various church/home groups and would spend a lot of the spiritual reflection time used previously in journaling  preparing for those lessons.  Regardless of why I quit, I think it is time to pick-up the practice again, especially as I enter “middle age” — midlife crisis seems to be a great time to reflect. 🙂

What has really helped convince me to start writing now, and in a somewhat public fashion,  is through the influence of my second daughter, Courtney.  Courtney started writing publicly in a wordpress blog entitled, “the other Courtney,” and I rediscovered the joy of reading deeper thoughts of personal life and getting to know my amazing daughter on a deeper level via her writing.  My oldest daughter, Charlotte, just started writing a blog as well entitled, “canyousaymama.” 🙂

Admittedly the thought of doing this in such a public way causes me concern — which is why I’ll will be putting a password on some of my writings.  I’m still not comfortable with just having all my deepest thoughts, observations, emotions, and questions hanging out there for anyone to read.  But I see this as being such an interesting way to examine life and share those “examinations” with those I care and love so deeply.

Which brings me to a favorite quote by Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  I believe the reason why men (and women) tend to live “quiet lives of desperation” is that they don’t take time to examine their lives, test their motives, thoughts, and actions, and spend more time “reflecting.”

Courtney has also introduced me to a new book entitled, “Loving what is ” by  Byron Katie that uses a “query” method of looking at our thoughts differently —  the underpinning theme of the books is “examining your life” and changing the way you think about things.  Along the same lines is a book  I’m reading with a “Home Study Group” entitled, “The 4:8 Principle” (Philppians  4:8).  Between those books and this new wordpress blog, I hope to once again examine and document life on a different level.

So those of you who want to occasionally read my ramblings and thoughts, I welcome you– with hopes that the personally examined and shared life will also mean deeper, more meaningful relationships.

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