Monday July 11, 2005
Bearing One Another’s Burdens
In Matthew 22:39, Jesus tells us the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our care for relatives, friends, church-family, and community members is best demonstrated when we follow Jesus’ example and bear their burdens. Not only did the Lord take upon Himself our sin-debt at the cross; He also shared in the daily hurts of the people who sought His comfort—blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46), the woman caught in adultery (John 8:3-11), and the many who were demon-oppressed (Matthew 4:24). Jesus does not discriminate with regard to whom He loves or whose burdens He will carry.
We are often tempted to selectively choose the friends we will help with their problems. According to Jesus’ example, we cannot bear another’s burdens based upon whether they have lived up to the standard we set. Some folks who have terrible problems will never dress as we do, make the kind of money we can make, or reach our level of education. But those same people are hurting and need someone to help shoulder the load of their difficulties. An expression of genuine godly love can transform the life of a person weighed down by struggles.
Even when we understand that lifting the weight of someone else’s load fulfills the law of Christ, Christians are often tempted to pass the responsibility for burden-bearing to the pastor. But God intends something different for faith communities. Our unique experiences equip us to aid certain people in a way the pastor—who has different experiences—cannot. Ask the Father how you can begin to share the load of hurting neighbors.
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