Have you ever had a situation in your life that weighed you down to the point that you felt like you could bear it no longer? Did you feel like you were all alone and that no one else understood how you were feeling? If only the weight could be lifted then maybe everything could return to normal. Have you been there?
I believe every one of us have been down that road some time in our past or may even be on that road right now. This burdensome journey comes in many forms and can be a result of circumstances beyond our control, undeserved persecution by someone else or even by our own actions and the choices we make. Whatever the case, the burden is heavy and, whether we will admit it or not, we need someone to come along beside us and help us bear the load. This is one of the most fundamental aspects of serving others for all believers. And all believers can participate.
So let’s begin this part of our study with a basic definition of a burden. A burden can be anything that oppresses the spiritual development of a believer. It is something that makes an overwhelming demand on our lives and brings with it sorrow and grief. Many times it is a result of a particular sin that we just can’t seem to overcome and it begins to have power over us. In one of Paul’s letter to the churches he writes in Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. This verse immediately follows his admonition that if a believer is caught (trapped) in any trespass, those believers who are spiritual (under the control of the Holy Spirit) are to restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, and take a close look at themselves, lest they also be tempted.
As we stated earlier, burdens can come in many forms but we will only mention a few. Some burdens are spiritual as we just witnessed in the paragraph above. Yielding to our desires and the subsequent sin activity are certainly the worst burdens we can carry. Emotional burdens come when we are the victims of sin, not the perpetrator of sin. We may experience mistreatment or neglect, we may be overcome by fear or even grief. These type of burdens are overwhelming. Physical burdens may be caused by illness or accident, some kind of impairment or just advancing age. Financial burdens can be brought on by a layoff, a medical emergency, a poor investment strategy and a multitude of other reasons. Whatever the form or shape, we need to remember that a burden is anything that oppresses the spiritual development of a believer and we all need a burden bearer at times. As a matter of fact, the greatest burden bearer of all time was Jesus Himself because he bore the burden of our sin on the cross. Thank you Lord!
Let’s now take a close look at the how’s of bearing another’s burdens. Frist of all, we must be humble. Galatians 5:26 states “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” and then in Galatians 6:3 “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself”. In other words we should be humble as we help bear another’s burden. Secondly we are to be gentle in our attempts to restore a brother. This is especially true when the burden is a result of sin. And finally, we are to bear the burden as long as it takes. Verse 2 really means to carry and keep on carrying the burden. We should be reminded that ir is to bring healing not punishment to the other.
In closing we should look at the last part of verse 2 that says “and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. The question then is “What is the law of Christ”? The very important answer to that question comes in the form of a command from Jesus Himself. In John 13:34 Jesus says “A new command I give you, love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another“. Wow! Jesus gave us the ultimate model of how to bear each other’s burdens by what He did at Calvary. And it was simply because He loved us so much! He bore it all. So what excuse do we have?
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”.