Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
A weight rests heavy on his shoulders.
He stands, but only with the hope that he will find a better place to find rest.
Tears drip down his face as he is once again faced by the reality of this weight, he wipes the tears away with his weary hand.
After walking a distance, he takes a seat on a bench.
His heart is apprehensive about talking to people, so eye contact towards pacing strangers never occurs.
He knows he’s alone, and he knows that is better than being pitied, or ridiculed, or seen as weak or needy.
The evening turns to night, he lays down on the bench, his shoulders tight from the weight still clinging to him.
The cool breeze of the night brushes over his face, he feels his breath enter then leave his body. He feels his heart beat, this beating an anthem to keep living, to keep pushing forward. His mind gives over to his body as his eyes close.
As the man sleeps, people pass, they can see the weight on him.
Some pity him, some ridicule him in their mind, some feel compassion towards him.
One particular man, understood God's calling on him to help this man, but he was left confused at how he could really help.
He wanted to remove this mans burden, but that seemed like a slim possibility.
What could he do?
He felt inadequate to help this man, it was just easier to act as if he did not see this man's burden than to talk with him and maybe make it worse.
So he kept walking…
So many of us are like the person who saw the man’s burden yet kept walking because of fear, or feelings of inadequacy to help, or just selfishness and a lack of love.
We hear this exhortation in Galatians to bear one another's burdens and yet we are often confused as to how we start.
First, we need to understand our motivation in all of this. Our desire to bear on another's burdens, should not come out of a motivation of duty, but rather, a desire fueled by God’s love.
God has, is, and will continue to bear our burdens, this love that He is showing us is the same love that ought to spur us on to bearing other's burdens.
Ok, now we’re ready to look at some practical steps that you can take, which can help you better connect with people and help to bear their burdens.
Listen - This is the first step in any relational setting.
What are they saying?
What are they trying to communicate to you?
Listening takes humility. You are directing the attention off of yourself and on to someone else, which takes humility.
This also takes patience. Listening can be long and frustrating, but it is imperative. Otherwise, you are left to make assumptions about the person you are trying to help as opposed to hearing their story.
Ask Questions - In Larry Crabb’s book “Soul Talk”, he talks about having a “Transcendent Curiosity” about another person.
This Transcendent Curiosity is a curiosity concerned with more than the surface of a person, but asks us to dig deeper to ask questions, to ask better questions.
This is something, I believe we need more than ever. We are so self-obsessed, so concerned with us, that is, how we come across or how we look, that this can overshadow our need to focus on the other person.
Because of this, many seem inept at asking questions that embody this Transcendent Curiosity that Larry Crabb eluded to.
However, there is good news. Asking questions is not about being the smartest or being crafty with words. It’s about our love for others, which God can fuel leading to our transcendent curiosity towards another person and causes us to listen and ask deep questions.
Understand - Easier said than done. This takes wisdom and discernment often beyond where we feel we are at. Because of this, me must, through this whole process, be relying on God's strength and wisdom.
Throughout your interaction, ask yourself questions about what has been said and the non-verbal communication that has taken place. All of this is useful info as you seek to understand this person.
Speak words of life - What are words of life? They are those that reflect God’s truth and love to another person.
However, keep in mind that your goal is not to solve the person's problem (if that is even possible), your goal is to listen, ask questions, understand, speak love into the person's life, and through this bear his burdens and point him to Christ as He is bearing his hardship as well.
This may seem incomplete to you. Where is the part when we make everything ok?
Part of why bearing each other's burdens is so important is that some burdens in this life won’t be fixed, they won't be made better according to our standards.
But part of Christ's design is that we can come together each with love for each other, bear the hardships in each others lives, and rely on the strength that only God provides.
Repeat - Listen, ask questions, understand, discern, speak words of life, and act out of love again and again.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is something so wonderful that if we ignore this ministry of God, we would surely be missing out on what God is doing in the lives of His people and through the lives of His people.
Don’t miss out!
Thanks for Reading :)