Monday, December 5, 2016

Break Down the Barrier (Galatians 6:2)

"Break down the barrier which stops us from reaching out and taking upon ourselves the need of others."

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 (English Standard Version)

Sometimes I need a story to flesh out teaching nuggets such as this. Here is my attempt to illustrate this summation of Paul's ethics.

Once upon a time a boy and his mother lived deep in the woods. The mother had chosen this place to raise son away from the influence of other folks. Goodwill could not yet be found among the people, who spent their days fighting and taking from one another. 

As happens, the boy grew and one day told his mother that since he was as good as a man he would set off and seek his fortune in life. As sorrowful as his mother was, she knew she could dissuade her son not yet a man from his choice. In her wisdom she made a blanket for him to take. At least at night he would be warm and protected from the cold nights.

After wishing his mother well, the son left the cabin deep in the woods. He sought his way in the world.

On the first day of his journey, since the people did not know goodwill, he was set upon by bandits that demanded his money. That night the boy not yet a man lay dismayed under his mother's blanket, yet warm and protected from the night.

On the second day of his journey he was befriended by swindlers who took his coat, his shoes, and his food. That night he laid hungry huddled under his blanket agains the cold night.

On the third day - barefoot, thinly clad, and hungry - the boy not yet a man continued his journey. He hadn't walked far when he came upon a solitary girl standing beside the road. Stringy hair. Smeared face. Tattered dress. Shivering against the cool of the morning air.

The boy asked if her parents lived nearby. The girls shook her head no.

The boy asked if her parents were in the woods gathering food. The girls shook her head no.

The boy asked if her parents were alive. Again, the girl shook her head no.

The girl saying nothing, just stood in the cold morning with chattering teeth.

Moved by concern, the boy puled off his mother's blanket and wrapped it around the girl. Now it was his turn to shiver in the cool morning air, standing there not really knowing what else to do. 

Warming up the girl finally spoke. "Do you know who I am?"


"I am compassion. I have played along this road for many years. Each day rich travelers, and bright travelers, and important travelers with important places to be cross my path. But none of them ever stopped. How is it that you, a boy not yet a man recognized me and stopped?"

The boy answered, "I do not know about seeing compassion. All I saw was a lonely girl shivering in the cold morning." And that is how goodwill was nurtured into the world of people. 

Goodwill encourages us to do our part, even when we feel we don't have much to offer. Bear one another burdens, Paul tells us. Break down the barrier which stops us from reaching out and taking upon ourselves the need of others. This may be the special role les-bi-gay-trans-queer-inter-asexual people have in society since we know the pain of being overlooked and dismissed. 

Bear one another burdens. Break down the barrier. Nurture goodwill.

No comments:

Post a Comment