We live in a fallen and broken world. That much, I think we can all agree. If you pay attention long enough to those around you (something you should definitely do), you will encounter a person who is hurting. For some, it will be the sting of disappointment over lost dreams and ideals. For other, broken friendships and strained relationships with family will send a person spiraling down into pain. The one we will all face at one point or another is death. Everyone will lose someone or know someone who has died and this time remains a trying time for all involved. This is a time of mourning, certainly, but Jesus does not depart in these moments.
‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:1-10, NIV
Paul, as he writes to the church in Galatia, quickly describes the nitty gritty of what living out the faith looks like. When someone is caught in a sin, or burdened by the weight of this fallen world, the christian should uphold each other. For those of the faith, we should be willing to stand with our brother and sister. For those who have not yet found Christ, we should be willing to show them the hope and restoration that comes from Jesus Christ. Think for a moment the last time that you sincerely needed another person. Often times we know what is needed because we have needed it at some time.
The Need to Stand With One Another
When those around us hurt and seem to be broken, it is our faith lived out that immediately moves to stand with that person. Pastor Tim Keller spoke on Galatians 6 at The Gospel Coalition conference in April of 2017 and summed up this ideal perfectly, “You can never help somebody with some of that person’s burden falling on you.” The truth of this is that helping others will cost you. Whether it be money, time, or talents, bearing someone’s burden means picking up the burden but to a lesser extent than the full burden. It is spread out over multiple people. This is why the body of Christ acting in unity with one another is so crucial to the spiritual and emotional health of the body of each other.
“‘There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:8-12, NIV
Every one of us will endure a time when we need someone to stand with us. Furthermore, every one of us will be in a time when we can stand with one another. Jesus Christ, before we were able to even approach Him due to our sin and sickness, made the first step. Likewise, when we see the hurting of other people, regardless of whether they supported us in the past or whether they have earned it, we should reach out to the hurting and broken of mankind. This is how we show the love that God has for us in how we display that love to others.
How Should We Respond
In a practical sense, however, while this is sublimely easy to talk about, can be exceedingly difficult to practically do. The issue in this, and in a great deal of many issues of faith, is we are striving to make the intangible tangible and the other worldly something that can be experienced. The goal is to show the hope that comes from Jesus Christ alone to the person who is in need and to display the love that God has for them. Love is the supreme salve for the hurts of mankind and Jesus Christ is our ultimate healer. To bear the burdens with one another, means that we would show them the love of God in their most trying and difficult time.We serve a God who through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross satisfied the demands of justice while making a way for the salvation of those who needed it the most. Click To Tweet
One of the biggest things that a person can give is their time. Sometimes the act of simply being willing to walk with a person through a trying and difficult time is enough. Furthermore, we are walking them through a difficult time. We may wish that it was a sprint but the truth is that we are walking. Sometimes slowly. Healing take times and must be endured through with a delicate strength and softness. But neither should we cease to move. We are still walking. The encouragement we can give to someone is to keep moving. Times will be difficult but we will not wallow in our pain but walk through it until we reach the other side. We walk with them and share the strength with one another all while pushing closer and closer to Jesus Christ in the process.
Talk It Out
- What does it mean to be burdened? What are the kind of burdens you and others like you face?
- How does Paul connect our faith with supporting someone who is burdened?
- Why do we resist the idea of bearing someone else’s burdens? How come this tends to be a particular scary notion?
- What things will you have to give up in order to stand with someone who is hurting?
- Name a few practical things that you can do to support someone who is walking through a particularly difficult season. When you were hurting, what were you looking for the most? What reassurances did you need?
- What effect can supporting someone through their burdens have on that person and on you? How does this display the fullness of God and reveal our faith?