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Psalm 119:10-11 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not
wander from your commandments! I have stored up your
word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Share In The Suffering Of Others

I recently posted a survey on the subject matter of suffering for the purpose of gathering some insight as to how people handle suffering in their life. It was an enlightening experience and I would have to say that though none of the responses surprised me, I was moved by the trials that people close to me have encountered in their life. You see, for the most part the ones who took the survey are all people I know pretty well. It was done anonymously so I don't know anything specific about any one particular individual, but what I do know is that there is a lot of pain and healing in and amongst those I am close to.

This brief survey caused me to ask myself a few questions and one of them I want to address in this post today. The question is "Why are we so reluctant to share our suffering with other people?" This passage in Romans says that if we share in the suffering of Christ we are indeed heirs with Him.

Rom 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

And Galatians tells us to bear one another's burdens. How can we bear each others burdens if we are reluctant to share them with one another?

Gal 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I believe the motivation to keep our struggles and suffering to ourselves is complex and varies from person to person. However, I have found in my life there are two key elements that have kept me from sharing my suffering and struggles. One is pride and the other is fear.

Pride and fear are faith killers and keep us locked in the dungeon of self pity and the need for acceptance. I have gone through difficulties in the past and have been so afraid of what others might think if I shared that I would isolate myself. Ways of doing this were to stay away from the church and the friends and family I have there. To avoid getting close to people emotionally due to the fear that they might think of me as being weak for not being able to handle this particular difficulty at the time. Or even trying to pretend it isn't happening so I could get along without having to be open and vulnerable.

Pride and fear are to our spiritual health what cancer and diabetes are to our physical health. Left untreated they slowly destroy our spiritual lives and ultimately will lead to death.

We are all one body, the body of Christ. When one member is suffering or struggling with sin, temptations, or trials we all suffer together. And the fruit that comes from sharing our lives with one another comes through as rejoicing. When we all live together, pray together, cry together, and laugh together, then when we get through the time of difficulty and suffering, we can rejoice in the victory that God has done in our life... together!

1Co 12:26-27 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Share your burdens, your struggles, and your suffering with those who are close to you. I know it has allowed me to open my heart, become vulnerable and honest, and given me the opportunity to understand what it means to share in the sufferings of Christ.

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