Share a Burden or Carry a Grudge?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in Signboard | 0 comments

On July 23 2018, our signboard said:






Why Are We Here?

When they asked Jesus what the most important thing in life that we need to do, He gave a two part answer:

  1. Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself

We’re free to do what we want to do, or to say what we want to say, or to think what we want to think.  But those choices should move us towards our purpose in life.  If “Option A” brings us closer to our purpose, but “Option B” pushes us in the wrong direction, than “Option A” is “Better” than “Option B.”   In other words, “Sharing a Burden” is BETTER than “Carrying a Grudge” because sharing a burden helps us love God and neighbors while “Carrying a Grudge” pushes us away from that purpose.

Let’s look at these two options (we’ll save the BETTER for last…)


Carrying a Grudge

Somebody did something to you.  Maybe it was a long time ago in High School (if High School isn’t “a long time ago” for you, you can probably imagine a different situation…).  Somebody made fun of you.  Called you a derogatory name.  Talked about you behind your back.  Copied your answers on a test and got you in trouble.  Took your homework.  Stole your girlfriend or boyfriend.  Borrowed your car and got into an accident.

We’ve all had situations like that.  Somebody did something to you and the relationship was ruined.  How could you ever be friends with someone who did this terrible thing to you?  Could you even talk to them again?  And it seems like it was just yesterday.  How could you ever forgive them?  You might as well just move on with life without liking this person.  You can avoid him or her; just pretend this person doesn’t exist and stay away from any place where they might happen to show up.

Time passes by, and the grudge outlives the offense.  You still avoid the person and think bad of them, but like the Hatfields and McCoys, you’ve totally forgotten what the problem was.

You make new friends, grow into a more mature situation, but time still hasn’t healed this relationship.  This person becomes friends with one of your friends.  Now it’s even harder to avoid him/her.  So you smile and try to be friendly on the outside, but inside you’re still burning.

Maybe this person is doing some great things.  Your friends speak well of this person and you begin to feel angry with them for this betrayal, even though they have no clue about your grudge (it happened long before they even knew you).  And if you told your friends about the evil this person did, they’d probably tell you to grow up and drop this silly grudge;  and then side with the person you’ve come to hate.

Carrying a grudge is a heavy load.


Sharing a Burden

If you think about what it means to “share a burden”, you’ll see that there are two “flavors” of sharing burdens…


Equal Partners Uniting

Here’s a baseball story…

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets baseball teams are in the same division and are fierce rivals.  Philly fans don’t like the Mets, and the feeling in New York is mutual! 

In September 2016, when playing the Phillies, Met’s infielder Asdrubal Cabrera hit a game winning home run.  Before circling the bases to end the game, Cabrera raised his arms in victory, and then… flipped his bat.  Celebration is understandable, even when endured by the loosing team.  But that bat toss; the flip is considered crossing the line.  Loosing teams see it as if the other team is “rubbing it in.”  It’s not good baseball etiquette.

In April of 2017 the Phillies and Mets faced eachother for the first time since that incident.  And, the Phillies pitcher who gave up that game winning home run was on the mound.  And Cabrera came to the plate.  The Phillies pitcher, Edubray Ramos throw his first pitch at Cabrera’s head!  Tensions were high, tempers were stretched.  Cabrera’s offense from a year earlier was remembered.

But in July 2018, a major touch of  irony invaded the situation.  During each season, limits on trades between teams are imposed on July 31, so there’s always a frenzy of trades between teams doing well and those who are looking to “have better luck next year.”

On July 27 2016, the Phillies sent some minor leaguers to the New York Mets to acquire- of all people- Asdrubal Cabrera.  Instead of being fierce rivals and harboring anger about the injustices done between them, beanball pitcher Edubray Ramos and bat-flipping batter Asdrubal Cabrera were now teammates!  Something had to happen to that grudge. 

What happened, is that the grudge ended.  What happened, is that the two former enemies were now teammates, sharing the same burden of trying to win a championship for the Philadelphia Phillies.  A 7/30/18 article in in the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Ramos’ reaction to his new teammate: 

“We shook hands, we hugged it out, we talked about it” Ramos said.  “At the end of the day, we’re both professionals and we’re here to help the same team win.  That’s pretty much the bottom line.  Good thing it was just one of those things you can talk about and get over.”


In order to unite and to be on the same team, everyone involved had to decide to drop their grudge and to pick up the burden.  Both players were on equal footing.  Both were equally right and equally wrong. But to pull  together, the pitcher had to drop his grudge about “showing him up” and the batter had to drop his grudge “he threw at me.”

As Ramos said, “Good thing it was just one of those things you can talk about and get over…” Paul put it this way:

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3:13-15

To be effective teammates, they needed to drop the grudge; to be bound “together in perfect harmony.”  Grudges must be dropped right away.  Holding the grudge instead of picking up the “burden of unity” would create a distraction that would control the relationship and ruin team work…

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26-27

Someone Who’s Fine, Stepping in to Help Someone in Trouble

The second “flavor of sharing burdens is between “unequal partners.”  Your life is going along fine, but someone else’s  has hit a major roadblock.  You have a choice.  Do you drop your smooth path and pick up the other person’s rough path?

Here’s one of the most familiar stories from the Bible, “The Parable of the Good Samaritan”…

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.  Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.  The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

Luke 10:29-37


The man dying on the side of the road and the “Good Samaritan were not teammates.  They were not on equal footing as far as their situations were concerned.  One was in terrible distress; the other was having a normal day, minding his own business.  And yet, the Samaritan decided to share the burden.  He decided to give up his happy day and join in with the other man’s bad day.

The other two men in the story (the priest and the temple assistant) made a different decision.  Both of them were in a hurry, and coming near a beaten or dying man would make them unclean.  Their time was more important than this unfortunate traveler. 

The story of the “Good Samaritan” is probably one of the most well-known stories in the Bible.  But there’s a bigger, more important one.  Another example of “Unequal Partners”…

.     .     .     .     .     .     .

Humanity was (and is) totally messed up.  There’s something within us that makes us want to carry grudges instead of sharing burdens.  Something drives us towards being selfish instead of being loving.  Something keeps pushing us away from God.  The Bible calls that something, “sin.”  And just like the beaten man dying in the roadside, we’re unable to pick ourselves up.

But this “unequal partner”- Jesus-  came along, dropped His “good day” and stooped down to share in our “bad day.”  Here’s how Paul describes it…

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Romans 5:6-9

When you take a look at the history of humankind, you’ll see that we haven’t been very “kind” at all.  From Genesis on, people keep choosing themselves and holding on to their “good days”, refusing to enter into someone’s suffering.  Peter said that we humans are “like sheep who have gone astray.” (1 Peter 2:25).

Take a look at the book of Judges!  People kept ignoring God and doing things their own way.  Or… take a look at your own life.  Have you ever ignored God???

If anyone had the right to carry a grudge, it was Jesus.  And yet, He picked up our burden by dying on a cross.


It’s Your Choice

Carry a Grudge, or Share a Burden.  Ultimately, in each situation, it’s a choice we all have to make.  Which path leads to a more fulfilling life?  As noted at the beginning of this article, if Love is our ultimate purpose in life, then Grudges get in the way and pull us down.  But Burdens lift us up and tie us closer to eachother and to God. 

Here’s another baseball story…

The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008.  That season and the final out when they became world champions of baseball are etched into the minds of every Philadelphian. 

One of the heroes of that season was outfielder Jayson Werth.  His gritty, hard work effort endeared him to Phillies fans. 

But things change.  The 2008 team got older, and try as they might, this team couldn’t repeat the magic.  Eventually it became clear that they needed newer, younger players.  They had to move on, and some of the icons retired and were replaced by younger prospects. 

One of those changes involved Jayson Werth.  His contract ran out in 2010, and he opted for free agency.  Strike while the iron’s hot.  And so a division rival, the Washington DC Nationals, outbid the Phillies and signed this 2008 hero.  The former Phillie sold out and joined the enemy for money…  a lot of money.  Once on the other team, he made some disparaging remarks about the Phillies.  How could a beloved hero of 2008 become such a villain?  For a bag of money?!?

And so, whenever the Washington Nationals came to town, the former hero would get booed.  Not just a gentle show of disapproval, but a Philadelphia BOOOOOO!  This turncoat didn’t deserve any respect.  The fans heaped their wrath on him.

But times change, and now age has robbed Jayson Werth of his skills.  He had seven good years with the a Nationals, but it became time for them to part ways.  The Nationals released him before the 2018 season, and he ended up signing a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners.   But the change in scenery didn’t stop the aging process, and it was clear that his baseball time was up.  So earlier this year (2018), he retired from baseball.

It’s been 10 years since the Phillies won that World Series.  In a few weeks (August 2018), the Phillies will celebrate the Ten Year Anniversary of the 2008 Championship by inviting the retired players back.  By now, most of these 2008 alumni have retired, and they will be able to take part in the ceremonies.

But what of Jayson Werth?  If you’re a Phillies fan, you have to make a decision:  Are you going to carry the grudge and boo him?  Or, is it time to move on, and to share “the burden”… to unite with him?  Are you going to enjoy the celebration by honoring him as a successful baseball player who was a member of the 2008 team which meant so much to us all (in Philadelphia, anyway)? Or, are you going to hold on to The Grudge?


Share a Burden, or Carry a Grudge???  It’s your decision.


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