Yours in Christ: Pastoral Letters from Resurrection, State College

Bear One Another’s Burdens

Dear Resurrection,

Has anyone ever told you, “God will never give you more than you can handle”? It’s a very common idea. People mean very well when they say it. The problem is—it’s not true! In fact, the Scriptures often teach the exact opposite—that your sin, your sorrow, your suffering—it all is too much for you to handle (2 Corinthians 1:8-11; 4:7-10). And that is precisely the reason you need the Lord, and one another.

This is why Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” That verse assumes that the burdens each Christian carries are not designed to be carried solo.

Yes, each one of us is accountable, personally responsible for our own choices and commitments. In fact, Paul goes on to say exactly that in the next three verses (Galatians 6:3-5). We’re each accountable directly to God and can’t blame other people for our sins and shortcomings.

But Christians also live in community, and we are called to be deeply invested in each other’s lives. What happens to one of us has a real impact on all of us. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). And that’s not just a fact; it’s a duty. We must “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

The responsibility to bear one another’s burdens flows from the very heart of the gospel—the way that Christ bears our burdens. Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” When Christ became man, He was stooping down to take on His shoulders a burden that was too heavy for you to carry: the burden of your slavery to sin and condemnation under the wrath of God. On the cross He bore that burden for you. When He calls you to bear one another’s burdens, He’s calling you to join Him in His work, to do for one another something like what He has done for you.

Grace-Based Action Point

The Christians you know are bearing many kinds of burdens, and God is calling you to stoop down and put your shoulder under their load, and lift.

    1. There’s the burden of suffering. Someone you know is debilitated by chronic pain, discouraged by bitter disappointment, weighed down by some form of mental anguish. How can you put your shoulder to the load and bring relief?
    2. There’s the burden of sorrow. The Lord wants you to be His messenger of consolation and peace, bringing to bear the comfort of Christ in words and actions of compassion.
    3. There’s the burden of sin. If you know someone is struggling to overcome temptation, be willing to wade into the awkwardness and help “restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1).
    4. There’s the burden of ordinary life. I guarantee you know someone who is overwhelmed by the basic shape of their everyday responsibilities. Where can you help to shoulder the load?

This week, look around you, and let’s get to work. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Simmons

P.S. If you’re like me, there are a lot of things you’d like to read but you can’t read them all. Sometimes listening instead of reading helps me when an audio option is available. You can listen to these letters on any of the major podcast sites listed here, on SermonAudio (including the SermonAudio ChurchOne app, Church Code ID 43678), and on resurrectionopc.org/letters.