Bear One Another’s Burdens

Galatians 6:1-2 instructs, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, rector such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

In this context, the word burden comes from the Greek word baros, which means weight, load, abundance, something making a demand on our material and spiritual reserves. Saints should come to the rescue of a Christian brother or sister who is overwhelmed by a burden of spiritual failure. Many types of burdens cause God’s children to be downcast, weak, lukewarm, and unfaithful. Upon observing or discerning such conditions, we are to get under the burden with the person in need and help him or her bear it. As quickly as the bloodstream rushes in with its powerful antibodies to aid us in time of accident or infection, so should the church aid someone who is under attack from the enemy.

We need a strong support system for each other. We cannot handle everything alone. At some time, life will hadn’t us a load that will crush us if we try to bear it alone. Our mutual spiritual survival is dependent upon our supporting burdened people through prayers, encouragement, empathy, and sympathy. In the church there should be strong familial ties, brotherhood, camaraderie, and a feeling that we are our brother’s keeper. We cannot allow an independent, macho, self-sustaining spirit and attitude to rob us of needed fellowship and support.

Occasionally we will need help, but we also have the resources to help others. Will we withhold good when it is in the power of our hand to do good? (Proverbs 3:27). God cursed Meroz because the inhabitants did not come to the aid of their brethren (Judges 5:23).

Below are a few of the many passages of Scripture that point out our personal responsibility toward one another. Let us accept the challenge to fulfill them in our lives as we study them.

  1. The strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak (Romans 15:1).
  2. We are to support the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
  3. David’s iniquities were as a heavy burden to him (Psalm 38:4).
  4. We are to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
  5. In the parable of the prodigal son, Jesus rebuked the elder brother’s wrong attitude toward his brother who had failed (Luke 15:11-32).
  6. Though a good person falls, he will not be utterly cast down (Psalm 37:23-28).
  7. Jesus prayed for Peter when Satan desired to have him and sift him as wheat (Luke 22:31-32).

When we bear one another’s burdens, we fulfill one of the highest principles of the Scripture, known as the law of Christ.

  • The Law of Christ – We should let this principle be the guiding force of our lives, as it was in the life of Christ.
    1. On Him was laid the iniquities of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
    2. He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses (Matthew 8:17).
    3. He seeks the one lost sheep when it goes astray (Luke 15:4-7).
    4. As the Samaritan helped the man who was robbed and left beside the road, He comes where we are and helps us (Luke 10:33-37).

In the Atonement, we see Christ not only as the sacrifice that dies for us but also as the scapegoat that bears away our sins and burdens (Leviticus 16:1-28). What a beautiful example for us to follow in bearing one another’s burdens!