Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
I used to be mean. (Okay, I still am.) Not the nasty, talk about you behind your back mean. Or the pull your hair and spit in your face physical mean. Not even the call you names mean. I was the uncompassionate and unhelpful kind of mean.
When I saw someone with a need, my first reaction was to pretend I didn’t see it. The second someone started sharing a burden, I got a sudden urge to visit the loo. Or I developed an insatiable thirst that needed to be immediately quenched. I even became so engrossed in the lint on my sweater that I completely missed everything the person said.
Most people figured me out and let it go. But, some keen people saw through my ruse and sought me out. They had to make sure I knew the excruciating specifics of their need. As they approached, I would steel myself in preparation of their needy onslaught. My spine stiffened. My eyes narrowed. I put on my stern face with the pursed lips and employed Jedi mind tricks to persuade them. Mine wasn’t the help they were looking for. Most took one look at me and kept walking.
Still, some managed to resist my telepathy and forced me to think up an excuse. You need help moving? Next weekend? I am so sorry but that is the weekend I planned to shampoo my carpets. I’ve already committed to renting the machine. It’s in my planner in ink so I can’t change it.
I was not helpful. But I was a child of God and the two didn’t add up. God wants me to care for His workers. My heart needed change, and as I prayed, I recalled a verse from Galatians. “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2).
How do we do that? What does it mean to carry each other’s burdens? In the original Greek, the word for carry (Strong’s G941) means, “to take up with one’s hands”. That’s action! We have to do something.
Also, a burden is heaviness, weight, or trouble. That can be different for different people. Maybe you think my hardness is burdensome while I think your neediness is troubling. It can be difficult to ascertain exactly what needs to happen.
That is where this quick start guide comes in!
Step 1: Find out exactly what the burden is.
There are a few ways to do this. First, we can observe from afar. What makes our friend buckle under pressure? What leaves her gasping for air? That is a good way to get an idea, but a far easier option is to engage. Talk to her. Find out what bothers her. Ask her what she needs.
Step 2: Come up with a plan.
Is our mom friend desperate for two uninterrupted minutes of alone time? How can you tangibly meet that need? Do we have time to watch her kids? Do we have the money to hire someone else to do it? Do we have a teenager we can make do it for free? Think outside the box. Do we have a box set of Baby Crack Einstein DVDs that we can loan her? (No shame, just solutions).
Step 3: Do it.
We can spend our entire day thinking up ways to help. We can talk about it to our spouse and friends. We can lament about how awful the situation is, but none of that is helpful. We still haven’t done anything. Remember: we must take action. We must use our hands to lighten someone’s load.
Did Suzy fret about having no time to prepare dinner since taking on a big project at work? Bring her a meal. Buy her a gift certificate. Have pizza delivered.
Maybe Sally mentioned she would be spending Monday in the hospital. Her mom was having surgery. Show up. Wait with her. Bring a sandwich and a magazine or a book to leave with her.
Perhaps Samantha revealed her husband was on a business trip. She complained of boredom and loneliness. Invite her over. Watch Netflix and chill.
That is how we start. Yes, taking those steps is hard. Many times I found it awkward and even painful. But we must bring our thoughts and actions into submission to God’s will and commands. We do it as an act of faith and expression of love. That is what it means to be a servant of Christ. Fortunately, as servants of Christ, we can trust He gives us everything we need to fulfill His Word.
For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
Whose burden have you carried? What are some ways you helped out?