“Grievous to Be Borne” – Mosiah 2:14

The Apostle Paul taught an important principle in his epistle to the Romans: Disciples of Christ must strive to reduce the burdens other people must bear:

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
(Romans 15:1)

And in his epistle to the Galatians, he emphasizes the same point:

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2) (See also Mosiah 18:8.)

The Greek word translated “bear” in these passages is bastazo (βαστάζω), meaning “to carry” or “to endure.”

The same word with the prefix dys- (δυσ-) (meaning “bad” or “difficult”) describes a heavy burden, cumbersome and oppressive. The Savior used the word dysbastakta (δυσβάστακτα) to describe the religious expectations enforced by overzealous leaders, who seemed tone-deaf to the difficulties they were creating in the lives of the people they led. The King James translators of the Bible rendered this word “grievous to be borne:”

They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
(Matthew 23:4) (See also Luke 11:46.)

In contrast, the Book of Mormon speaks of a king who was careful to minimize the burdens he placed on his people. At the end of his reign, King Benjamin reported to his people:

I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.
(Mosiah 2:14)

Today, I will be cognizant of the burdens I am placing on other people. Like King Benjamin, I will strive to minimize those burdens, keeping them manageable, ensuring that they are not too heavy to bear. In particular, I will heed the Savior’s warning to avoid hypocrisy in my leadership: asking people to do things I am not willing to do myself.

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