Bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
What are the burdens that people in our community, Church, and family walk around with? They are myriad and unique to each individual. In some way or another every one is walking around with the burden infused into them by sin.
We live in a war zone of sin that rips our flesh apart. Anyone who saw Hacksaw Ridge knows an unnerving image of what sin looks like (and not just war-related sin, but the effect of sin in general looks as hideous and hellish as the pulverized, disembodied humanity depicted in that movie). And sin is everywhere. At almost any given day of our lives, in a five mile circumference around us, there has been hate, lust, envy, pornography, indifference, violence, fornication, adultery, masturbation, pride, arrogance, greed, deliberate drunkenness, theft, idolatry, gluttony, etc. Like the lead in Flint’s water, sin leeches into our world daily. And, we know we aren’t exempt: we add our own sins into the mix (Gal 6:1b).
Now, that is not meant to be fatalistic. There is no reason for despair. God is on the move in the world and in every human heart, 24/7. And, there is no power on Earth or in Hell that can withstand the Cross (except our “No”). God will have the last say. But, we shouldn’t hide behind this, remain in our comfortable lives and excuse ourselves from entering into the human misery erected by sin. We need to shed our blood with Jesus. We need to take some kind of responsibility for our brothers and sisters around us. We need to bear one another’s burdens.
Here is a great example of how our heart should respond:
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances… To thee, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us confusion of face… To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness; because we have rebelled against him, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. (Daniel 9:3-10)
This is the key: Daniel was not guilty of these sins! He did not commit the infidelity that he is speaking of. Still he said, “We”! He took responsibility for his people! He bore their burdens.
Do we have this kind of mind and this kind of heart? Firstly, do we see the effects and reality of sin pulverizing humanity left and right? Or do we write it off and cover over it? And secondly, do we beg for forgiveness of the sins of our people and their restoration to righteousness? Or do we individualistically and indifferently look the other way as if that’s “their problem”?
Maybe all we can do, in most situations, is pray and fast. But, do we pray and fast (I mean actually fast) like Daniel? Do we bear one another’s burdens? Do we plead with God on behalf of one another, on behalf of our people and our community?
Let’s answer the call and allow our hearts to be broken.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer… Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:9-15)