“Surely, God doesn’t expect us to bear others’ burdens…does He? I mean, aren’t my own burdens enough?”
Maybe this crossed you mind–or at least it trickled across the bottom of the screen of your mind like the sports ticker on your TV. Being a member of God’s family, the church, is not for spectators. Nowhere in Scripture do you find genuine believers on the sidelines as it were. There’s too much at stake. The name and glory of our risen Christ is constantly being displayed accurately when we actually be a church rather than do church.
Paul’s words in Galatians 6:1-5 are gripping. Paul gives two scenarios where people are burdened and then he challenges each of us with how we look our own burdens.
1. Bear the burdens of the broken. People are broken and it’s always because of sin and yes, they are caught–trapped! Every time people squirm under the bondage of sin they do further damage to their lives and those around them. Spiritual people rescue. Spiritual people bring relief. Relief comes through loving and grace-filled confrontation coupled with perceptive strategy to live out their freedom in Christ.
2. Bear the burdens of the burdened. Sin weighs on every life it touches. The writer of Hebrews talks about “sin and weight” (Heb 12:1). People carry needless weights. Look around you. Do you see any one who is not carrying one of these two burdens?
Paul’s exhortation to all of us today is examine yourself in two critical areas:
Think correctly of yourself. Wow, that’s bold, Paul. “Do you imply we often don’t think correctly of ourselves?” I think he does think that. I think he thought that about himself. He claimed to be chiefest of sinners, after all! Most of the time we live unaware of others’ sin and weights it is because we think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We are too involved in our world. We are busy hiding, ducking, repairing the walls we have erected, or we are recoiling from our own hurts. This is paralyzing and blinds us severely to the needs of others.
Read your environment. The “load” in V5 speaks of a small backpack type of load. Here, Paul is urging discernment in just how we handle peoples’ burdens. A soldier needs his backpack and it is given by his commander. We don’t want to remove that. God is at work in peoples’ lives and if we are marked with the “Messiah Complex” where we are the solution to everyone’s burden, then we are not really doing God’s work.
Bear one anothers’ burdens this week. Give yourself away. Christ did!