As people who understand temptation, we’re called to carry the burdens of others who are trapped in temptation.
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“Brothers and sisters, if a person gets trapped by wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should help that person turn away from doing wrong. Do it in a gentle way. At the same time watch yourself so that you also are not tempted. Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.”
Galatians 6:1-2 God’s Word to the Nations
I don’t know how many trips or how many hours these men carried these crates filled with bottles, but I was exhausted watching them. Trip after trip they walked between a truck hauling these crates and the ship that would carry them to a distant location on the Ucayali River, and they did it for someone else.
In essence they bore another person’s burden.
A key component to Christian community is bearing the burdens of others, however when we hear Paul’s words we often take them out of context. I would guess that most of us think that Paul is speaking about helping someone when life throws them a curve ball.
We’re ready to help the person who is saddled with cancer, financial misfortune, or family failures, and we ought to do so. However, Paul is writing about carrying the burden of someone else’s sin. Are we willing to help such a person?
Satan has done a great job of causing us to question what is and is not sin so that we’re not sure we can identify sin. The result is that we bear our sins alone. Paul knew how dangerous this is. He calls us to deal with sin, but to do so gently and to be willing to bear someone else’s sin.
You see it’s all about grace, not the hammer of the law. We deal with sin so that it might be carried to the cross. It is through forgiveness that we no longer carry our sin. So, when we help people bear their sins, we are helping them carry it to Jesus that they might be free of their burden.
Copyright Douglas P. Brauner