Galatians 6:2 says to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” Some people seem to think it really means: “Bear one another’s offenses, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”
I think the mistake can most easily happen when the burden our friend is carrying is an offense. We might feel tempted to show empathy by being just as offended as they are. “Oh my goodness! I can’t believe they did that to you.” And then our coolness when we next meet up with the “offender” expresses how well we are “bearing our friend’s offense.”
Don’t fall for it. When offense comes both parties need to remember this admonition from Proverbs 20:22; “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” The truth here is that God sees every time we are hurt or offended. He knows who was in the right and who was in the wrong. We need to trust God to be the one to set things right in the way He chooses. He doesn’t need our help.
How then do we properly bear our friend’s burden? We acknowledge the pain and provide comfort as they work through all the various emotions that come with offense. We gently encourage forgiveness, not grudge bearing. We pray for healing and do all we can to help our offended friend look outward rather than wallow in self-pity.
Do you want to fulfill the law of Christ? Remember then to watch what you bear.