Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)
“‘Bearing one another’s burdens’ also means sharing yours.”
This remains one of the most challenging things the Spirit has even spoken to me.
Because of the nature of my position—and because this is the twenty-first century—I spend a lot of time online; and I often come across surprising information. Sometimes what I stumble upon is delightful or inspiring, but all too often it is heartbreaking.
– 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography1
– Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-242
– The average age-of-onset for someone suffering an anxiety disorder is 113
– One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime4
To me, each of these statistics represents burden. The only word I can think of to describe them is prevalent. And these are the “big things,” the weights significant enough that various institutes and organizations have studied and quantified them. This is to say nothing of challenges in relationships, struggles with finances, or difficult decisions that must be made under less than ideal circumstances.
I am by no means an expert on any of these issues, but I do know this: from our origin, our Maker said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NLT). The whole account of God and His people is a record of relationship: among the people of Israel, among the Church, and inherent in the three-in-one God Himself.
Personally, I have made the mistake of believing that strength means the ability to handle things myself, that to ask for prayer or counsel or support is to be weak. The truth is that, in so doing, I have rebelled against God’s making of me. I was designed for need: need of God and need of His people—His children, my brothers and sisters who, in fact, need me too.
I was well discipled in the pursuit of God’s guidance. I learned from an early age to seek His wisdom in His Word and by the counsel of His Spirit. But to rely on God does not mean to never receive from anyone else. Often God’s voice is evident in the counsel of a leader, friend, or family member. After all, the epistles themselves would not exist had there been no need for the Church to counsel and encourage one another.
It is my prayer that we, by God’s grace, wisdom, and glorious love, might be excellent at both bearing and sharing. I pray that I would be a safe place for those who are weighed down, and I pray that I would possess the trust, hope, and humility necessary to call out for the strength of another’s hands when I am shouldering more than I can bear.
How about you?
What steps do you need to take to surround yourself with people with whom you can share your burdens? (For example, this might look like intentionally pursuing deeper relationships with family members or joining a small group at your local church.)
Do you pursue those you love in such a way that they know they can share their burdens with you?
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:304 NLT)
Author’s edit: Much of the response we have seen on social media has been about wanting to find people to share your burdens with but not knowing how. I wanted to note that I wrestled with this for years. Intentionality and pursuing certain relationships were important, but the first thing I had to do was simply ask God to send the right people into my life. If you’re seeking good community, ask! Then, have faith. God will send the right people at the perfect time.