to bear or not to bear: that is the question, 3 of 4


Bible a personal and biblical reflection, based on Galatians 6.2-5


To bear or not to bear? That is the question.

To bear and not to bear. This is an answer.[1]

To bear. To be present with others in the midst of life, ready to give and to receive one from another the gifts of who we are and what we have, helping others and being helped by others to bear up under the often withering weight of life in this world.

Not to bear. To allow others and ourselves the freedom to accept offers of help as they and as we will. To allow others and ourselves to assert responsibility for self, for they and we must live with the consequences of the choices they and we make.


[1] I write “an answer.” I believe knowledge, constantly unfolding, is infinite, impossible to measure or to limit. I also believe that knowledge is fluid; what is known capable of being interpreted differently at different times by different people and, indeed, succeeded, being supplanted by new, even ultimate discoveries. (In this latter regard, I think of the Apostle Paul’s proclamation in 1 Corinthians 13.8, “…as for knowledge, it will come to an end.” I also am reminded of that stanza in James Russell Lowell’s poem, The Present Crisis, “New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth…”). Hence, I never dare to declare that I have the answer.

2 thoughts on “to bear or not to bear: that is the question, 3 of 4

  1. It seems so much easier “to bear” than not. Why? Because Giving of yourselves to others and receiving them as well as we try to get through this crazy world and life because the interaction can be life-giving in and of itself! Typically you feel so much better after you’ve helped someone or they’ve helped you, you feel lighter somehow, unburdened.

    “Not to bear” sounds more difficult because though we can choose, we don’t always make the best decisions about when we need help (whether we want it or not). Can we sometimes be to proud or stubborn to accept help even if the circumstances are dire?? Conversely, even if I don’t want to help I sometimes will anyway if I’m the last resort for the other person. I guess that’s what you meant when you say there are consequences to the decisions that we make.

    I’ll await part 4 to see if there’s an alternative to these two. Thanks!!!!


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