“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”
Verse two is an extension of verse one. This verse shows that the second responsibility of Christians toward fallen believers is to help them through their problems after they are restored. It is not enough to restore them to fellowship and then neglect them.
Bear one another’s burdens,
Spiritual Christians bear the heavy “burdens” of others because bearing burdens is an act of love. Although we can cast our burdens on God (Psalm 5:22; 1 Peter 5:7), we should be able to cast them on fellow believers as well.
The word burden here refers to something that someone cannot carry on one’s own; it puts extreme strain on our spiritual capital. The word means weight, heaviness, or load. It is a load that presses down on us, a heavy burden. Fallen Christians need the help of spiritual Christians. The burden here is the burden of failing the Lord Jesus. Sin can be oppressive.
The words “one another’s” means another of the same kind. We are to bear the burdens of Christians. We cannot bear the burdens of unbelievers in the same way we can a Christian’s burdens. We can bless other Christians by helping them develop a biblical perspective on life. This is not sentimental love but true love. We have something to say to those who need God’s promises.
Christians are to get under the load other Christians bear.
After God restores fallen believers to fellowship, often, Satan immediately attacks them because they are still vulnerable to their sin. This is why spiritual Christians must continue to walk them through their problems. Unfortunately, pride keeps some people from allowing others to bear their burden and walk them through their problems.
Many of us never know the weight other Christians carry. When Christians get under the load of other Christians, it’s a lot easier to carry the weight. If we offer our shoulder, it makes the load lighter.
Some loads are too heavy for one person to lift. It’s good to be able to say, “Lend me your back, will you? I can’t carry this load by myself. My heart is broken. I am not strong enough to bear this alone. I think between the two of us, we can do it.”
Some of us are so busy with our own problems that we do not take time for others. We work long hours. We have our own interests. We have to meet the needs of our families. We don’t have time for one another. We live in such busy times that our goals get in the way of our care for people. We do not have time for each other anymore.
The law of Christ compels us to love other Christians. We are to love them even when they are not lovely. You may argue, “But you don’t know what he said about me. He spread false information about me.” I say, forgive him and forget it. Help him. What he said about you is not the issue. The issue is his need. Forbear his lie against you (Colossians 3:12,13). Lovingly put up with him. In grace, swallow your pride. Other people put up with you, don’t they? You are not all that perfect either! You have some irritating habits too. We all have our blind spots.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…” (Romans 12:10).
When some part of our body hurts, the whole body sympathizes with that hurt. If we hammer our finger, it isn’t just our finger that hurts but the whole body. Other parts of the body rush to get a Band-Aid and medicine. We are part of the body of Christ; when another believer hurts, we should hurt. This is empathy, not sympathy. It is the desire to identify with the hurts of fellow believers. We need to rally around one another. Get under the load and help out.
“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Most people come to church to see what they can get out of it. We live in a consumer generation. This is the wrong slant to take on churchgoing. How many of us go to church to give? Do you ask yourself when you go to church, “How can I contribute to someone today? Make me a blessing to someone today. It makes little difference if I get anything out of the sermon or am blessed by the choir, I am going to give to someone today.”
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:9-10).
Some of us are so discouraged that we have little left over for others. Discouraged Christians cannot encourage others. When you get two discouraged Christians together, look out! That is why we must sound the note of encouragement. Everyone becomes discouraged from time to time. Declare before God that you are going to be an encouragement to someone, not a discouragement; a blessing, not a cursing; a wing, not a weight.
People all around us face domestic problems, financial problems, problems with children, problems with employees, and with employers. We can cast our burdens on the Lord, but God wants us to cast them on one another as well.