Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something,when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load. (Galatians 6:2-5)
Bear one another’s burdens… for each will have to bear his own load? Paul seems to be contradicting himself in this passage, but, John Stott explains, “The Greek word in verse 2 means weight or heavy load, while the Greek in verse 5 is a common term for a person’s pack. So there is no contradiction. We are to bear one another’s burdens, which are too heavy for each of us to bear alone; but we cannot share the burden of our responsibility to God.”
Sometimes I have trouble getting the two straight, do you?
Bear One Another’s Burden
Often, I want to skip the heavy burdens that take time, patience and endurance and throw a couple of solutions, scriptures or meals in the direction of friends or family. Bearing a burden is usually not that quick, and it is with little reward, glamour and attention. Stott even refers to burden-bearing as “mundane” and “unspectacular ministry.” Tending to physical needs is important, but more times than not, we will be walking alongside those with heavy burdens of the heart and mind. Are you tired just from reading these words? Think you don’t have what it takes? You do. Burden-carrier is the mark of a believer. God gives the strength to do what he’s called us to. The good news is you have someone to carry your load, too; we must be humble enough to let others share our burden.
For Each Will Have To Bear His Own Load
As I’m about to write this, I’m realizing how embarrassing it is to say: When my friend’s/family’s burdens are great, I do not pray near as hard as when they are in sin. But, boy, when they are in sin, I pray HARD for conviction!!! Oh, God, please break their hearts! Please open their eyes! Please work conviction! Please don’t let them stay on this path!…Oh, and, help my friend who’s having a hard time.
I want to throw the solutions, scripture and meal at the burden, but I am more than willing to work conviction, forgiveness, healing and identity into hearts and bitterness, lies, bondage and pain out of hearts.
The problem with this is two things:
it is not my job — Each will have to bear his own load; we cannot share the burden of our responsibility to God.
nor am I capable — God is the changer of hearts. Jesus is the lover of souls. It is his kindness that leads to repentance. God’s grace is greater than all sin. Christ’s blood is sufficient for the vilest sinner. I am [wo]man. He is God. I am mother. He is God.
God is gracious in his provision of others. He has allowed us to take a great part in walking with one another so we are not alone, but it is good to recognize the difference between heavy load and a person’s pack. God is gracious to continually work in our hearts. When we know our responsibility with another person’s pack, we are trusting the Holy Spirit to work in hearts. We can drive each other home. We may even be able to stay really late, but we can’t spend the night.
What burdens of your own do you need to share with others?
Whose burdens can you help carry today?