Rejoice or Wail?

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ - Galatians 6:2.

ONE of the most prevalent spiritual ailments is self-pity. It begins with the turning of the mind in on itself in morbid reflection. It ends in the conviction that God or fate or luck has singled us out as a striking case of misfortune and injustice. We feel aggrieved and resentful as we plod wearily and gloomily along the road that leads to despair.

Paul has given us a hint of a cure, when he says, Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. What we really crave is a lot of very soft and sentimental sympathy from those who will weep over us and weep with us. What we need is to turn our eyes outward toward other people. We are not pleased, but we are shocked and rebuked to discover that there are always sadder cases than our own; that there are so many people who need our help when we thought that we needed theirs. We begin by adding their burdens to ours and cutting the sum in two. We find rich fellowship and deep joy in suffering for and with others. We learn to like people we never liked before because we are kind to them. We feel ashamed to tell of our own miseries. Our burdens grow strangely light and unimportant. We get a song of rejoicing for our wail of despair.

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