Burdens Hard to Bear

Lou Lotz

Read: Luke 11:45-54

For you load people with burdens hard to bear. (v. 46)

A friend of mine, an advertising executive, told me that the whole purpose of advertising was to make people feel guilty. I thought he was kidding, but now I’m not so sure.

Jesus was hopping mad at the Pharisees because they bloated Jewish law with thousands of hair-splitting rules and regulations that nobody could possibly live up to. “You load people with burdens hard to bear,” said Jesus.

We do the same thing. We have met the Pharisees, and they are us. We load ourselves with burdens that we can’t possibly carry. The code by which we judge ourselves consists, rightly, of the commandments of God. But added to them are the expectations of our parents, social class, and peer group, the calculated persuasion of TV commercials, and who knows what else. No wonder we feel so guilty all the time. Woe to us, we who load ourselves with burdens hard to bear.

“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” asks Paul (Rom. 8:33). We ourselves, that’s who. We continue to charge ourselves long after God has said, “Forgiven, case closed.” “Who is to condemn?” asks Paul (Rom. 8:34). We condemn ourselves. But God does not condemn; God forgives.

Stop beating yourself up because you fail to measure up to your friends’ expectations, or the guilt-inducing persuasion of a mass media that loads people with burdens hard to hear.

—Lou Lotz

Prayer: Lord, deliver me from guilt.