Carrying the Load: Part 1

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

What is the law of Christ? Love God and love your neighbor.

Here is the context of that verse in Galatians:

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.

It’s interesting to me that the context of this passage is in relation to sin and restoring a brother. I am ashamed to admit that I bristle a little at this. I mean, aren’t the burdens in this passage the consequences of their sin? It is easier for me to lend a hand to those I have determined are “deserving.”

When someone is caught or entangled in sin they need help in getting free. They need someone to lift a burden that is too heavy for them to move alone. What seems an immovable weight to me may be manageable for you. Our strengths – and weaknesses – may lie in different areas.

But the passage reminds me not to get caught myself. Your burden may be too much for me to lift, the temptation too great, so that I get loaded down and entangled as well. The strength of a community is that others can join. We together need to bear each other’s burdens. It’s not just up to me. God will place the right person or persons to help.

For even the right person, though, it is still a burden and may require some sacrifice. Maybe licentious living left the weight of debt and I can lighten or remove it so the person is able make a fresh start. Maybe it’s giving up my freedom with certain foods or alcohol so as not to stumble someone else. Or maybe it is the emotional scars of unhealthy behaviors and attachments that require extra patience and understanding to stay in relationship.

God can free us Himself, but more often He chooses to use His people to accomplish this work. When we take on the burdens of others with humility and gentleness we are helping to get one another back on to the right path. We are fulfilling the law of Christ, to love our neighbor. And the world gets to see the Church as it should be – as one.

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