My burden is light: when realization is a heavy load

Suzette Standring
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Christianity gets bad PR from our so-called “very own.” The label “Christian” doesn’t automatically make one Christ-like. You’re not a financial expert just because you play Sudoku numbers.  

Many outsiders stereotype Christianity as inflexible, judgmental, harsh, exclusive, and self-righteous.

In one sense, they are right. Christianity has been hijacked to a public and perverse platform that excludes gentleness, forgiveness, caring and welcome.

Persuading others to be better is done by role modeling, not rallies.


Jesus might say, “My teachings were never meant to separate mothers from children. I healed the sick and fed the hungry. I defended outcasts.”

Jesus might even say, “What’s all this noise about who is deserving? NONE of you are deserving. It’s called grace, remember?”

For me, this is what makes Christianity so hard (yet I soldier on):

Making the wellbeing of others primary. Forgiveness. Being measured in my words (tough one!) Practicing hospitality, welcoming the stranger, going way outside of my comfort zone to help or to give comfort.

Note: it is a lifelong journey to practice selflessness and healthy boundaries. While Christianity encourages generosity of spirit, Jesus himself was no doormat.

The worst of society today screams Me, first! Shout louder! Destroy the other side!  Oh, and throw in the words, “Christian” or “God” to be persuasive.

For many everyday folks who are not religious or who maintain different religious traditions, perhaps their only exposure to Christian references may be from news clips when leaders use such words to direct and control, a glaring misuse of the Operation Manual (the Bible).

I had an insight when I read Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Clearly, “my burden is light” means a load that is not heavy, but what if “light” also could be interpreted as enlightenment, or knowledge, or a shining truth?

What if “my burden is light” is the call to right action when you know better?

Christ, refers to his own gentleness and humility, and said, “Learn from me.” Then perhaps the burden would be to favor peace and care for all. The burden to be patient and calm in the face of chaos. Standing firm against exclusion was role modeled 2,000 years ago in the face of fierce opposition and mob mentality of the times. 

Walking the talk remains a most powerful persuasion. Being Christ-like is neither cheap nor easy.  But simply using a label is.

This column ran through GateHouse Media on 8/26/2019 and in The Patriot Ledger.