Share that burden
Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command. If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. He is really a nobody. (Romans 6:1-3)
It is easy to share another's happiness or celebration, isn't it? It isn't as easy to share their troubles or problems. A gentle and humble response to another's shortcomings is just as hard, isn't it? The spirit of man can be downcast and burdened beyond one's ability to stand against. The heart becomes darkened by steps taken in the wrong direction and the spirit can be weighed down by woes beyond one's own control. We are told to come alongside another who is overcome and lighten their burden - if even in the slightest sense. It isn't so we will receive glory and praise, but because it is the right 'action' of a believer's heart toward another who is caught up in sin, weighed down under burdens, or in difficult circumstances. Why? It is what Jesus would do and he lives in you!
Do we have to assume the troubles of the other individual in order to fulfill this command? Not at all - we just need to help them as God leads us. The one burdened is attempting to carry much more than they can handle alone - in whatever form that burden may manifest. Burdens come in the form of anxieties, trials, mishaps, shifting circumstances, downturns, and even hindrances. How can we make a difference in these? Perhaps we can pray - that is a good start, but have you ever heard that sometimes we need to 'put feet to our prayers'? There might be some 'action' God asks of us in the form of easing that burden. When we 'act upon' that urging of the Spirit of God within, we are beginning to share that burden just a bit. Does it become 'our' burden to bear? No, it is still theirs, but they aren't bearing it alone any longer - they have Jesus and us on their side!
Does sharing another's burdens always make 'sense'? Not always - in fact, there are times when we have similar anxieties and just have no idea how 'sharing' those can actually help either one of us. As we open up to each other, sharing those burdens and missteps, we can begin to see we are not in the challenge alone. We might know we have Jesus on our side, but to realize someone else shares similar circumstances and is struggling in similar ways, we can begin to pray and care for each other. Somehow that lightens our burden - to not just pray for our own issues, but to begin to pray for someone else's burden. We might not feel the lifting of our burden immediately, but the more we come alongside each other, the more we will feel our burden lifting. I don't know how Jesus does that, but he somehow eases our burden as we begin to be there for one another. So, be open to share a burden as God leads. When you choose to serve one another as God leads, you are choosing to serve Jesus. Just sayin!