Bear the Burden: A Message of Love ~
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.”
The Lord doesn’t want the members of His body to live in isolation; believers are intended to function as a loving family who actively care for each other ….
One of our responsibilities as part of God’s household is to come alongside a brother or sister who has stumbled. Paul specifies that those “who are spiritual” are to restore the fallen ones to fellowship with the Father and the family. “Spiritual” doesn’t mean some elite group of pious leaders; it refers to any Christians who are living under the Spirit’s control. A key element in this process is the attitude of the one who seeks to restore a fellow Christian …
A Spirit of Gentleness ~
This isn’t a time for harshness, anger, judgment, or condemnation. We should never shame our brothers or sisters. Our goal is not to heap pain and guilt upon a hurting brother or sister, but to show mercy and forgiveness ….
“But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.”
(2 Corinthians 2:5-8).
A Spirit of Humility ~
Those who have a superior attitude look down on a fallen brother and may think to themselves: “I would never make those mistakes.” But the humble know their own vulnerability. Instead of judging others, they examine their own lives in order to recognize and deal with areas of weakness. There but for the grace of God go I …..
A Spirit of Love ~
When we love others, we’ll willingly sharing their burden. This requires an unselfish investment of our time, energy, and most certainly prayer on their behalf …..
How do you react when a fellow Christian has stumbled? One of the ugliest human traits is our tendency to feel better about ourselves when another person misses the mark. This “holier-than-thou” attitude is most displeasing to God. Instead of sharing the latest gossip about a fallen brother or sister, let your heart break, and come alongside to love and help them ….
The troubles of this world are manifold and relentless. It’s not easy to stay so focused on heaven that we remain unperturbed by the afflictions of earthly life. We’re commanded, of course, to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2), but even the most committed believer will testify that earthly trials sometimes obscure the heavenly perspective in our thoughts …..
We worry. We grieve. We stumble. We strain under the toil of our daily labors. We are human and so feel the guilt of our fallen condition. Meanwhile, we are assaulted with adversities and afflictions of various kinds. Those are just a few of the many worldly burdens that frequently keep our thoughts from rising to heaven. And yet we are commanded repeatedly to “seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:1). We are instructed to “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
We must not allow the burdens of this life to divert our hearts from heaven. And how is that possible, you ask? When the load weighs us down and the troubles become too much for one person to bear, “pie-in-the-sky” sentiments can sound very hollow, and may even seem uncaring or insensitive to our hurting brothers and sisters ….
But that is precisely why the church is so important. It is our duty as believers to help bear one another’s burdens as we have seen in our opening passage. When someone staggers, we help steady the load. If they are straining, we help bear the burden. And if they should stumble, we lift them up. Helping fellow believers carry the weight of their worldly troubles is one of the chief practical duties that ought to consume every Christian ….
Of course, that concept is contrary to the drift of our culture; with secular society’s tendency to foster self-absorption and the “all about me” and “dog-eat-dog” thought syndromes. Our generation has developed an unhealthy obsession with entertainment; as we are daily assaulted with a vast array of trivial diversions; and we tend to interact with one another in sound-bites or through faceless social media even more than a personal face-to-face conversation. We live in crowded cities and over-populated neighborhoods; yet sadly, most individuals are more isolated than ever before, similarly, alone in a crowded room ….
And let’s be honest: reformed and evangelical churches nowadays often imitate the culture precisely where we most need to confront and counteract its influence. As churches seek to become more contemporary; striving to be bigger, flashier, and more technologically savvy, they usually tend to become more cold and impersonal. Contemporary churches sometimes even seem to encourage the “me first” agenda of self-love” rather than the “one another” commands of Scripture. As a result, we don’t bear one another’s burdens as we should ….
Yet Paul made this duty a high priority. It was the centerpiece of his admonitions to the Galatian churches. The first half of Galatians is a defense of justification by faith and a series of arguments against the false teaching that threatened to place those churches in bondage to the Law. In (Galatians 5:14), he reminded them: “The whole law is fulfilled in one word: “thou shalt love your neighbor as thyself” ….. And how is that love best manifest? “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).
The first and preeminent example of burden-bearing Paul mentions involves dealing with the burden of another Christian’s sin. “if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness (v. 1). That, of course, isn’t a different approach from the steps of church discipline Jesus outlined in (Matthew 18:15-17). It merely explains how that process is to be carried out: gently and meekly, and it underscores the true goal which is: restoration, not punishment, shame or public rebuke ….
In other words, the person restoring the sinning brother or sister isn’t to approach them as if they were a master over them, but meekly; as one who is willing to help shoulder the burden so that the one who has stumbled can get to their feet again ….
This passage simply states the underlying principle as an imperative “bear one another’s burdens.” Obviously, the instruction applies to all kinds of burdens; not merely the burdens of those who stumble into sin. When Paul suggests that burden-bearing “fulfills the law of Christ,” he makes it clear that he has the whole moral law in view. Every act of compassion and self-sacrifice on behalf of our brethren is a practical means of displaying the love of Christ and thereby fulfilling the moral demands of His law.
But the apostle clearly has in mind spiritual, emotional, and temperamental encumbrances; not physical burdens only. The burdens we need to help carry for one another include guilt, worry, sorrow, anxiety, and all other similar loads ….
In conclusion; do you want to fulfill the moral requirements of the Law? Love your neighbor. How do you love him? By bearing his burdens.
It’s interesting that Paul would emphasize this theme in an epistle written to confront people who were falling into legalism. It’s as if he were saying, “You want to observe a law? Let it be the law of Christ. If you have to impose burdens on yourselves, let it be through acts of love toward your neighbor.”
If you will do that faithfully, your own burden won’t seem so heavy. Best of all, you will find it easier to keep your focus heavenward, regardless of the trials you suffer in this life. And remember; we are blessed as we bless …..
Dear Lord Jesus; every good and perfect gift is a blessing from You and You have blessed me with much, and I ask that You would use me to be a blessing to others who are in need or facing difficulties. Make me a channel of Your blessings; a channel through who Your love, peace and joy flow out from You through me to others. May I be Your hands to bless others ~ may You guide my feet to places where I can go and be a blessing ~ May my speech be seasoned with salt so that I may speak words of comfort and encouragement ~ and speak the truth in love, and give me the grace to be available when others are in need Lord, that You may increase in my life and I may decrease, so that the blessings that You pour through me to others may draw each one closer into the arms of You Lord Jesus, in Whose name I pray, Amen …