Bear One Another's Burdens

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, ESV)

This is another verse where the context is important and interesting. Here it is:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:2-5, ESV).

In verse 2 Paul says we are to bear one another’s burdens; then in verse 5, he says that each of us has to bear our own load. So which is it – am I to bear my load or bear others’ burdens? The answer is yes to both. (Note: In the Greek, there are different words for “burden,” which is large, and “load,” which is small.) Think about this: If you are looking for other people to bear your load, you don’t have the correct attitude. Not only does the Lord want us to accept our own responsibilities, but he also tells us to serve others.

What if all followers of Jesus shouldered their own loads and lived to help others with their burdens? We would have a world that is more responsible, gracious, and willing to help others without expectation. If I bear my own load and help carry your burden, and you bear your own load and help carry my burden, then we will not have those expectations that sabotage relationships.

How are you bearing your friend’s burden? How are you bearing your own load? If both of these are your aims, you will have little disappointment. However, if you are continuously waiting for your friend to bear the responsibility for your happiness, you will be disappointed. Think back to your last disappointment. I can almost guarantee that you had an expectation that someone else or something else would satisfy or bear something for you.

Lord, I confess that I have been complaining about my own load and unwilling to help bear others’ burdens. Help me to bear my own load and share the weight of others’ burdens…. (Continue praying.)

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