Have you ever made a mistake or had a tragedy in your life? We all have. So what is the biblical concept of bearing one another’s burdens? Does this mean we pay the neighbors electric bill when they have a shortfall in their finances…maybe? Should I bail my friend out of jail, possibly? Do we buy diapers and formula for the kids next door who just had triplets? Is the Christian called to help the poor, the needy, the sick dying masses of this world? Absolutely, and more! Paul wrote of this in Galatians. This letter tells us much about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Christian life. And the importance of being sensitive to the needs of others, ‘empathy.’ The moment by moment outcome of that kind of sensitivity to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, are what we mean by ‘fruits’ of the spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24
You see, the Christian worldview is not satisfied to simply let the believer off with just a few coins in the offering plate or a crusty loaf of bread and a dented ravioli can to the local food kitchen. The Christian is a soldier of The Lord. As we learned in Sunday School, we are in The Lords A.R.M.Y. In The Lords Army there is a no man left behind policy. We are in the trenches together. This is warfare and the enemy has an almost limitless supply of ammunition. Our brothers and sisters will fall, but what will our response be…Christian Love?
“And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.””Matthew 22:37-40
“…my neighbor as myself.” That second part is the one that hangs a lot of folks up. Loving my neighbor as myself can require emotional involvement and pain, maybe even hurt and disappointment. However, I have no right to look upon another person any differently than Christ would look upon me. This ‘burden bearing’ is a Christian duty. I have failed miserably in life at times and there were always folks around a’ plenty to discourage me, but there were also those heroes of the faith who came alongside me, and stood with me in Christian solidarity saying, me too brother, I’m guilty too, with an arm around my shoulder and an understanding tearful smile, bearing the burden of guilt with me. Christ bore the guilt of us all.
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2
Christian Love demands that we forgive one another. When we see our brother or sister fall, we must get down there and grab hold tight with all of our might. You never know when you you may need the tortured soul and hurting hand of another saved sinner to pull you out of a ditch.
“A Christian never has the option of not being kind.” -Dr. Micheal Ramsden