2002, Articles, Raiati

Carrying the Other / 20.01.2002

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6: 2). Paul speaks in many occasions about love. However, in this verse, he clarifies that love leads us to carry on our shoulders the difficulties of the other and help him overcome them. If the other fell in any problem, we should work to take him out of it. “It is the re-evaluation of our relative’s issues and the taking care of his affairs” (St. John Chrysostom in his commentary on the book of Genesis).

It is not love when we only console the other and make him feel better through sweet words when he falls, even if these words came from the Holy Book. He might already know the book. When we only mention the verses and confirm to him that God is with him, we wouldn’t be sharing his situations and trying to organize them and fix what was defected. We wouldn’t be supporting him practically.

Giving him a well prepared advice to live in the proper path is the lowest level of faith. We are asked to find a job for this man or woman. We might have connections with employers or a friend that has connections. This man might be in need of a legitimate consultation so we try to get it for free from a lawyer. He might need help in paying his children’s scholastic fees; he could want a spiritual opinion while being in bad marital situations so we help him choose a good person in this field.

We could give a lot of examples. However, what the apostle and St. John Chrysostom said means that love is to do something for the other and not only watch his situation and cry. He doesn’t need someone to cry with him. He needs at least an opinion and an effort to find solutions. You might not have a solution between your hands, but you would have at least thought about a specific situation and put your effort to solve the issue as if you were the one with problems.

This could be specifically applied on those who live in the church and stay next to each other. Every one of those fully commits to the other, and every one of them waits for the attention of those who share him his prayer because if praying didn’t become a service, you brother might consider it untruthful.

This cooperation that we are talking about must be applied through embracing the other. First, you must ask about his situation and then continue following up the developments of the issue that you know about. There is no friendship if you didn’t follow the problems of the friend. If you can’t solve these problems, you can at least feel his difficulties. However, God wants you to consider the case of the other as your personal case and give it full importance so that your love would not be just through words.

None of us must stay alone. Every person, while passing through severe physical or moral tribulations, seeks human warmth. This might be enough for him, and you might not be able to do more than that. Perhaps one very big aspect of the familial life is to feel that the other partner is standing next to us in our sorrow and crisis.

When Paul said: “Carry each other’s burdens”, he didn’t consider that this ends by asking about the health of your friend or the other believer. Paul’s will doesn’t end by having an intellectual discussion with the other. Paul wants you to put your shoulder under the burden that the other is carrying. As a lover, it is your responsibility to take off this burden.

The other thing is what Paul says: “And this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”. Christ’s law is love, and the love that the Lord wants is the love translated into deeds.

We are members of the one body of Christ and this is translated through our meeting to eat his body and drink his blood together. However, Holy Communion is not the end. It is the beginning, and the end is to actually become one in social life and appear to people as one through love.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “أن نحمل الآخر” –Raiati no3- 20.01.2002

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