What keeps us from laying it down? To admitting our fault, taking responsibility and seeking forgiveness? Only one thing: Our Ego or pride. To admit is to say, "I am the one." To take responsibility is to say, "I did it." To seek forgiveness is to say, "I was wrong, will you forgive me?" It is our pride and ego that keeps us from all three of those actions. They are too hard and yet the burden carried is far weightier.
And each time we deny our guilt the weight gets heavier.
The greatest enemy to our burdens is our pride. We are not meant to carry this weight. It is why Jesus came and died. We don't have to pretend we are better than we are as our goodness is that of Jesus living in us, not who we are by ourselves. The Apostle John says, "If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." We are sinners. It is who we are. It is why we do what we do. It is the human condition. Yet John goes on to say, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9).
But it is hard and we are used to carrying the weight.
But in order to lay it down we have to fight the battle with our egos and pride to get from "I am without sin," to "I need to confess my sin. I did it. I am guilty. I need forgiveness." It is the battle that says, "I must retain my dignity" so I cannot admit. Ironically, our dignity has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Jesus who imputes his righteousness to us. Our dignity is a reflection of Him and the fact that we are made in His image. We have inherent dignity in Jesus apart from our good works - or bad. He gives us dignity. He gives us worth. He gives us love.
Wow. I don't have to worry about my dignity. Jesus gives me dignity.
Much of the Christian life is a journey from pride to humility. We all think we are humble and the more we think that the more pride we possess. We all think we are better than we are and the more we think that, the more deluded we become. Pride stands in the way of a life of followership because pride is about us and followership is about Jesus. For many, humility comes hard. But the Father loves us enough to keep chipping at the façade of pride until the man or woman God made us to be shows up. Humble, unpretentious and with a nothing to prove, nothing to lose and nothing to hide attitude.
Jesus tells me to let go of my pride.
Ironically, when we let go of our pretense and pride it is then that we are able to lay our burden down. Because then we can say, "I am the one, I did it, I was wrong, will you forgive me?" And with that the burden can be laid down at the foot of the cross, paid for by Jesus and we can stand upright again purified of our unrighteousness. "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." (Matthew 11:28-30).
We can have rest for our souls.
Is it time for you to lay a burden down? When we do we go from weary and burdened to a place of rest and peace. And Jesus models the spirit that is necessary when He says, "for I am gentle and humble in heart."