Bear One Another's Burdens?

99% of the time my life is pretty easygoing and drama-free. Yet, I often feel stressed out. Why is that? Here's what I've discovered about myself.

I'm a fixer. For better or worse, I want to help. Obviously, there's a good side to being a fixer. I do research, I dig, and I ask questions, all in the name of finding answers. This is a great quality when someone, chronically ill looking for help, comes to me. But, there's a bad side, too. The bad side always leads to trouble.

Galatians 6:2 says, "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." We should help each other when the load gets too heavy to carry alone. Burdens come in all shapes and sizes. It may be health issues, spiritual issues, emotional issues, financial issues, issues with children, young and grown, issues at work, etc. When you see someone weary from the struggle, it may be time to help.

How do you know if it's time to step in and help someone who is struggling?

  • Pray. Ask God if He wants you to help and HOW He wants you to help. Sometimes, He just wants us to pray. Sometimes, he wants us to pay a bill or buy food.

  • Think about what you think about the situation. Are you wanting to help because you think that person doesn't know what they're doing? Are you wanting to help because you think you know what's best for them? If your thoughts are those of pity and not compassion, your motivation may not be right.

  • Are you thinking more about how helping will affect you than the person you want to help? Are you looking for a pat on the back for "helping"? Are you, consciously or unconsciously, trying to meet your own needs by helping? Does it make you feel important? Does it make you feel wanted? These are needs only God can meet in your life.

  • Are you thinking about what that person might say or do if you get involved? If you're doing it to win their approval or gain access to some benefit they can offer, your motivation may need to be checked.

Help is often much more appreciated when someone feels they are buckling under the pressure. If they are looking for help, they will make it known, even it they don't come right out and ask.

We are to help, not carry the burden for someone else. I have been guilty of picking up other people's burdens (burdens they were not even carrying themselves), tossing those burdens over my shoulder, and carrying that weight for them. Carrying my burden AND theirs put me in a place of stress and worry. I burdened myself by trying to meet a need that wasn't a need.

Sometimes, what looks like a burden to me may not feel like a burden to you.

Galatians 6:4-5 tells us that everyone is responsible for themselves and their load is for them to carry. If they become weak and need temporary help, we should step in, lighten the load while they are restrengthened, and then give it all back to them. Ultimately, it is up to them to cast their care on the Lord because He cares for them, too. (1 Peter 5:7) In due time, He will lift them up.

If you have been carrying other people's burdens, lay them down at the feet of Jesus. He will take care of them and get them where they need to go. It's their responsibility to look to Jesus. If He needs your help, He will let you know.