((I plan to return to this post and add all the scripture notations, but ran out of time.))
Grafted finishes with an ascertation, when she stated, "The scariest thing…is the realization that I must have blind spots. …I can’t see them. Maybe that’s what friends are for. Maybe that’s what the bible really means when it exhorts us to bear one another’s burdens…"
And that’s where she left us…waiting for her conclusion!
And it’s where I’m picking it up!
As Christians, we are called to judge. But with discernment and much trepidation. This is a hard topic to even talk about because NO ONE (believer or not) wants to be judged a sinner by other sinners. And believers are sinners, too.
As Grafted pointed out, we DO all have blind spots. We, in our mortal human state, can not possibly see ourselves the way God does. He sees ALL our sin. In every each and every area of our hearts. And He is constantly working, through the Holy Spirit, to regenerate us and sanctify us. And I’m thankful for His provision in this manner.
But, I don’t think that we must, as Christians, bear each other’s burdens, by telling each other of our minor faults and shortcomings. (And I’m not trying to put words in Grafted’s mouth – this is just the impression I’ve come away with after reading her article a few times.) I have personally been the brunt of someone trying to "exhort me unto holiness" through making judgments against me and actually everyone they knew…and let me tell you …. it left me burnt out and washed up – spiritually, emotionally and even physically.
But, the crux of the matter is actually very simple. Most of us are not NEARLY as teachable as we profess to be, by word or deed. It’s a matter of pride. I can think of a handful of times that, because someone was too prideful to admit their own humanity in a situation and they tried to be "holier than thou", that they actually ended up hurting my feelings and belittling what encouragement I was trying to offer them. I can think of several friends who, through circumstances God himself has allowed to take place in their lives, have no business offering advice or mentoring in certain areas…yet their pride is so powerful, they continue to hold everyone to a standard even THEY have fallen terribly short of. It’s not right. I know of several people in leadership positions that have taken a lot of liberty in the phrase, "Holy Spirit Inspired," and have stood before crowds of people to publicly tear down fellow believers. And what it all comes down to is pride. Pride comes to steal, kill and destroy. And we have ALL fallen victim to it.
I hope and pray I’m never so prideful that I would brush off a friends encouragement (because that would mean I was weak!), exhortation (because that would mean I was lazy!) and even a well-needed rebuke (because that would mean I was sinning!!). But, I also hope that my friends would use some discernment when they are offering their exhortations and rebukes. If what I’m doing is putting me or my family in grave danger, you MUST hold me accountable. If what I’m doing is just annoying you….that’s your own problem! 🙂 Much division in the body occurs when we follow our emotional responses to our friends instead of taking our heart to God and letting HIM deal with His children in His own way.
And as for trying to bear one another’s burdens – I try to remember to take the whatever annoyances I have with friends straight to God, in prayer, on their behalf and mine – so that I’m not harboring any ill feelings towards them. To me, it is the most loving way I know to handle friendships. Then I try to leave the work up to the Holy Spirit. I haven’t always been faithful to do so, and have found myself snarled up in the sin of gossip. But, in general, that is what I think of when I think to bear one another’s burdens: to lift all things up to God in prayer.