Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
Gal 6:1-5 NIVUK
A Christian man whom I know slightly has treated his wife very shabbily. A few years ago, he left her for a younger woman and did not see the need to provide for her financially. I was not closely involved with carrying their burden, other than praying for his wife.
Now, whenever I see him, I sense I am still carrying the weight of his self-centred act. My first thought is, ‘You should not have done that.’ Very likely his wife has moved on emotionally, but I have not. I’m carrying the wrong burden, thinking I’m ‘something’ – the judge of this man. This can lead to gossip – ‘You know, don’t you, he’s the one who left his wife….’ Worst of all, I sense that he can read my thoughts in my face.
Instead of carrying the falsely imposed burden of this person’s act from years ago, I should be carrying my own ‘load’ – which means making sure my heart is right with God. I should be worrying less about another person’s lack of spirituality and more about my own. I’m grateful to the Lord for pointing this out, so that I can bring it before him.
There are some people whose problems we definitely should help carry, as the Lord leads. Others, we need to set down, trusting him that these belong to someone else. Are there any burdens you are hauling around which don’t belong to you? Let the Lord deal with those – they are his business. And concentrate on lifting whatever load he has given to you.
Prayer (as a couple)
Dear Lord, give us insight to see where we might be carrying the wrong cargo. Help us to carry only what is within the boundaries you have set for us, and give us strength to do that.
Prayer (for others)
We pray for _______, whose burden we rightly should be helping to carry. Help us to come alongside them in whatever way we can.
Just as Christian came up to the Cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, fell from off his back, and began to tumble down the hill, and so it continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre. There it fell in, and I saw it no more! John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress