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This week in my devotional reading I came across Gal. 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Because of what is happening with the political divides, racial injustice, and everything else in our country, I stopped to think about what it really means to bear another’s burdens. How do we do that?
I can think of three ways (at least) that we can bear another’s burdens. My first inclination is often to fix the problem. “Oh, you have a burden? Well, let me fix it for you.” Over the years I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that “fixing the problem” is not always what the other person wants or needs. Sometimes the problem is just way bigger than anything I can fix. For example, no matter how long I look in my toolbox, there is no simple tool that will fix the racial injustice that has been institutionalized in this country over 400 years.
A second approach might be to listen and stand with someone as they describe their burden. It is vitally important to believe them as they tell their story and not to doubt, or question, their experience. It means not being put off by the weight or pain of their story. It means not judging their burden. Sometimes our call, our gift, is to simply be with someone, to hear them, believe them, and understand that it is indeed a heavy burden they carry.
The third approach is to pick up any part of their burden in any way that way we can and walk and work with them to make that burden lighter. I saw a poster of a white man with a sign that read, “As a White man, I can never walk a mile in a Black man’s shoes. But I can lace mine up, walk beside him, and say, ‘I stand with you.’” We can do our part to make that burden lighter. We can stand with and support people, literally and figuratively, as they carry their burden. We can become their ally.
Do you know someone carrying a heavy burden? Would any of the above ways work for you to help bear that burden? This is Godly work, my friends. It makes a difference in people’s lives. It makes a difference in our world.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all.