When it comes to hardships and the burdens of this life, many of us strive to keep our problems to ourselves. In fact, it’s almost seen as a virtuous trait to be “independent” and not need the help of others. Even as Christians, we often have this idea that our faith is solely between us and God – that relationships are a good idea, but they’re not a mandatory part of our Christian walk. We are okay with the idea of giving our burdens to God, but we aren’t so keen on sharing them with those around us.
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The truth is that God never meant for us to walk through life on our own. When He created Adam in the Garden of Eden, His first mission in Adam’s life was to create a woman to be his companion. He saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. – Galatians 6:2-3 (NLT)
I love these words of Paul to the Galatians. He doesn’t dance around the topic, rather he points out the heart issue behind our hesitance to share each other’s burdens. In our pride, we carry our own burdens and refuse to share them with others.
On the flip-side of that, pride can also be the reason we struggle to carry the burdens of others. When faced with the opportunity to help someone out, I sometimes find myself making excuses. I’m far too busy or maybe I have my own issues to deal with at the moment. But the truth is that I’m too focused on myself and my own burdens to help someone else handle theirs.
Pride is ultimately what gets in the way of sharing each other’s burdens the way God intended.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I recently saw a sign that read “A problem shared is a problem cut in half.” Burdens are simply a part of life, but God gave us each other to lean on during difficult times. Yes, we are called to surrender our problems to Jesus and to find our rest in Him. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that we are also commanded to be united together as the family of God. A family takes care of one another.
So let’s carry each other’s burdens. Let’s be willing to step in and help a brother or sister in need. Let us also be willing to share our lives with others and not allow pride to get in the way of accepting the help that we need. After all, this is God’s intention for His kids – that we would love one another, build each other up, and be united in Him.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. – 1 Peter 4:8-10
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.