Problems…struggles…issues….burdens. I’ve found that we, as believers, struggle with sharing our burdens. We are afraid of adding another burden to the people with whom we walk life. So we adjust our heavy load and continue limping along. All the while we ask our companions to continue to share their burdens, but do not allow them to help shoulder ours.
What does it look like to carry burdens in a healthy way? Actually, is there a healthy way? Ultimately, we are supposed to leave them at the feet of Jesus, but sometimes, it takes us journeying a little before we give them up.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2. Why am I supposed to carry other’s burdens? What is gained and lost?
Gained – someone to help shoulder the weight, someone to point me back to Christ, someone with whom to walk life, someone with whom to be honest.
Lost – self focus, full weight of the burden.
Hmmmm…..the gained definitely outweighs the lost, so I’m going to make a logical leap and say carrying each other’s burdens is a good thing! What does this look like walked out? We quote the Galatians verse often enough in church, but do we actually do it well?
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 talks about the body of Christ. In short, what affects one of us, affects all of us and we need each other. Here are three ways that we can help carry each other’s burdens.
Sharing – Ephesians 4:25, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” The first thing and probably the hardest is for us to share what is going on in our own lives. This doesn’t mean that we have word and feeling vomit with everyone with whom we come into contact. It does mean that we share our joys and struggles with those whom God has placed in our lives to walk life’s journey. James 5:16 also calles us to, “…confess [our] sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Sharing our burdens is only half of it. We should also be ready to listen to other people’s burdens.
Praying – “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19. Praying together is a beautiful thing. It knits our hearts together in deeper ways. We are also called to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Pray as the Spirit leads. Petition heaven on behalf of each other! Thank heaven for each others’ blessings.
Acting – Philipians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” If you have the ability to help alleviate someone’s burden (help a friend move, cook a dinner for a sick friend, drive a coworker to work whose car is in the shop, etc.) then we should use our gifts to bless others. This also means that we are called to receive help from each other.
Ezra Taft Benson writes, “The fellowship of true friends who can hear you out, share your joys, help carry your burdens, and correctly counsel you is priceless.”