‘ Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth’ — Matthew 5:5
“…The sixth rule is this. Consider thy own frailty. Others there are that do provoke thee and stir up thine anger ; but thou must go by that rule. We seek pardon, and we give it. I meet with such and such things in others, and it may be within a while they may meet with things amiss in me ; they offend me, and I am like to offend them too ; and that is a marvellous help to quiet the Spirits of those that are truly gracious. Therefore in Gal. vi. mark the argument of the apostle there, ‘ Brethren, it a man be overtaken with a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness: considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted;’ and then it follows, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.’ Bear ye one another’s burden; consider you may be tempted, and then bear ye one another’s burden. The burden is like to be mutual ; I bear my brother’s burden, and my brother is like to bear my burden ; I have a burden that may as well try his patience, as his tries mine ; and therefore let us bear one another’s burden. As now among servants, when one of them is sick, we would account it an unreasonable thing if the other should murmur for the helping of his fellow-servant — No, he will not do it. But reason thus : I must help him now ; why, I may be sick erelong, and then he will help me. So do others cross you, be you meek towards them, as you would expect that they should be meek towards you. It is ordinary for men that have the greatest weaknesses, for them to bear with the weaknesses of others, lest they be like, in this case, to the gouty leg, that must have all the attendance itself, but is useful for nothing ; so it is with many that have such proud and froward spirits, that everybody must seek to please them, and yet they will seek to please nobody themselves. Oh remember your own frailty !”
Jeremiah Burroughs, “SERMON XIII. A REPREHENSION OF PROFESSORS THAT ARE NOT MEEK”, from the book entitled, The saints’ happiness, together with the several steps leading thereunto : delivered in divers lectures on the beatitudes : being part of Christ’s sermon on the mount, contained in the fifth of Matthew
Jeremiah Burroughs was a 17th century English Puritan.
I like this paragraph for multiple reasons. First of all one of the burdens he speaks of is simply dealing with insufferable people. The mark of one who’s lived in real community. He invites us to remember that everyone has their faults, that everyone will have things that will try our patience. There’s also this ethic of helping someone with one fault in a very meek manner, because then your friend may be of help to you later. I don’t know exactly how easy this would be for me to implement in the family, but you can easily imagine a professional environment (law, sports, science), where good friends help each other hone their game. Except here it’s about being a less annoying person. Let us be that less annoying person.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, let us remember our own frailty, our faults and offenses which create burdens for others. Give us the patience and courage and meekness to not only bear the burdens others create for us, but to “help” others out of their difficult situations which give rise to the annoyances. Lead us not into the temptations of anger, quick fixing, or placing conditions on our love. Let us love from an understanding that we have great weaknesses ourselves.
PRAYER FOCUS: Think about one person in your circles of community for whom you have created burdens, and one that is creating burdens for you.