Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
This verse’s specific context speaks of believers helping one another with the oppressive weight of temptation and the effects of yielding to it. However, there is a broader principle that can be applied to all burdens.
So why is this principle important?
Today, it seems as though everyone you meet is carrying a burden, and Christians are not exempt. Though we can and should have joy in the midst of our difficulty, this doesn’t mean that we are to be dishonest about our difficulties. If we act like we never have problems then what does our ability to have joy prove? However, if we are honest about our lives and still find Jesus sufficient in all things, even when we are clearly at the end of ourselves—that can be winsome. If we, by faith, find some hope even when things seem hopeless, that is a powerful apologetic! By the way, the hope that we find isn’t pie in the sky or foundationless hope; we hope in the real person who has already rescued us! It is the height of arrogance to think that he can’t overcome some issue in our lives when he has already overcome our depravity. If we minimize our sinful condition or magnify our role in salvation, we are much less likely to hope in Jesus! We hope because of his record! A Christian who has gotten caught up in a sinful cycle must be honest with himself and with others to get out. In the same way, a Christian who is bearing a burden that isn’t tainted by sin must be honest with himself and others to find help and hope. Christian, stop acting, it’s ok to need help!
How can I help bear burdens?
There are many ways that Christians can and should bear each other’s burdens, but this is a blog post, so I would just like to focus on one of them. Be there! I know it’s simple, but your presence can make a difference. Often, in the difficult seasons of life, friends and family don’t know how to help or what to say. Sometimes the one who is hurting doesn’t know what they need and wouldn’t know what to ask for if they did ask. Often this hurting individual carries on an internal dialogue that goes something like this: “I don’t physically need anything.” “No one could possiblysay anything that could help me right now.” “If someone were here with me they may feel some of my pain.” “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.” “If someone else hurts, that will not help me in any way.” This hurting person then decides to bottle it up and go through their pain alone. Isolation is not the answer.
You are created in the image of God, and part of that imago dei illustrates that you are a relational being made to live within community. Your emotions are as real as you are. People don’t have to say anything. Those that love you most are already feeling your pain. There are some weights too great for anyone to go through alone. Whether you are the one carrying a burden or the friend of someone carrying a burden, your presence can make a difference!