Bear One Another's Burdens

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Fulfilling the Law of Christ
Burden bearing is when someone else’s pain lives in your heart; it's the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see because when you carry someone's burden, you resemble Jesus. It's always easier to bear burdens for someone when they have been willing and cheerfully done it for you.   Galatians 6:4-5 tells us, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.” It is interesting to note that the word for “load” in verse five is a different word than the word for “burden” in verse two. It almost seems contradictory, but in verse five where it's talking about that load or that weight, it's really talking about more like your cargo or more like a backpack, like a soldier would carry. And so, in other words, there are some burdens that you can bear on your own. And then there are other burdens that are just way too big for you to carry alone, like the burden of sin. And when you have worked with Jesus, our burden bearer who handles your load, it frees you up to help others with their baggage. There have, undoubtedly, been plenty of times where we have been slow to carry the burdens of others, and we've been more wrapped up in ourselves than in carrying the weight that someone else is enduring. We thank God for the weight that Jesus took of our sin. We want to commit to do a better job when it comes to recognizing the needs of others and putting their burdens ahead of our own pride. By doing this, we become a great reflection of Jesus and his ministry. Discussion/Reflection Question: How does reflecting on Jesus's willingness to carry your burdens impact how you view the burdens of others?
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Honor Others Above Ourselves
When it comes to choosing between humility or our pride, we get to pick which path we take. It's your choice which direction you want to move in. The Bible says that God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. But while you are free to choose, but if you choose pride, then you are choosing to face off against an opposing team that has the God of the entire universe on their side. If you choose pride over humility, you will lose every time, and you will lose for all eternity. Pride keeps you from carrying the burdens of others, and we are consistently surrounded by people who have burdens. The only question is: Will we honor them above ourselves and take the time to be involved in burden bearing? 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” So, when someone goes through fatigue or burnout, or they go through some type of struggle, if you have experienced something similar and God has brought you through that, then he is counting on you to comfort others with the comfort that you have received from God. Your pain in the past will enable you to be able to help others in the present. Discussion/Reflection Questions: When has someone come alongside of you and helped you carry a heavy burden? How did this experience impact you?
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True Love for Our Neighbors
Galatians 6:2-4 tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” Some people think that burden-bearing for others is beneath them. They think it's too messy, or it’s too time consuming. Their pride prevents them from stepping into situations where others need their help. The New Living Translation (NLT) translates verse 3 this way: “If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself, you are not that important.” This should be your life verse as a Christ follower. Paul is speaking against criticism, and he is speaking from the standpoint of how we can have a critical spirit. There is a danger that we can think that we're above stepping into the problems and struggles of other people. When someone solely looks out for their own benefit and criticizes others, they do so at the expense of those that are around them, and the entire community suffers for it. The enemy would love nothing more than for us to think we are too busy to humble ourselves and be the hands and feet of Jesus to people in our path. After all, when Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins, he was the ultimate example of taking on the burdens of others. He took on the weight of your sin when he went to the cross, even though it was at the highest cost to him.  Discussion/Reflection Question: When has your pride prevented you from helping to carry the burden of someone else?
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Lighten the Load
Most of us struggle with asking others for help. Our pride makes us think we should have it under control by ourselves and that asking for help is showing weakness. But there are things that come along in life that are just too heavy for us to possibly carry alone. Try as we might, carrying some things are just impossible to handle by ourselves. We encounter people every day, friends, family, coworkers, strangers, etc., who may be struggling to carry a very heavy burden by themselves and are too afraid to ask for help. We, as Christ followers, are called to help others carry their burdens, whether they ask for our help or not.  Paul told the Galatians in Chapter 6 that they were free from keeping the rituals of the Mosaic Law, but he reminded them that they did have another responsibility to another. The Law of Christ said that they were to take care of others. Paul said that when you carry another's burdens, you're fulfilling the law of Christ. It's a reference back to just a couple paragraphs earlier in Galatians 5:14, where Paul says, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” This verse calls us to remember back in Matthew 22 when Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; that's the greatest vertical commandment between you and God. So, what's the greatest horizontal command? It's in the next line that Jesus says: “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” True love for us has to be shown to those who are around us, just as Christ showed us true love through his sacrifice on the cross. Discussion/Reflection Questions: Who in your immediate circle needs help carrying a burden? How can you take steps to help them?