Carrying Each Other’s Burdens

Galatians 6 “1 If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently… Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Bible scholar J.B. Phillips translates this passage, “1Even if a man should be detected in some sin, my brothers, the spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on the right path, not with any feeling of superiority but being yourselves on guard against temptation. Carry each other’s burdens and so live out the law of Christ.”

As stated in both of the translations above, restoration must always start with someone who “lives by the Spirit.” Earlier in chapter 5 of Galatians, Paul the Apostle explains why by contrasting the acts of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit. “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: impurity, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy and the like.”  Acts of the flesh do not restore.  They tear down.

On the other hand, genuine, sustainable restoration is produced by the Holy Spirit,22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”

Always begin restoration “in the Spirit.”

Paul says to restore gently.”  J.B. Phillips translates this, “quietly set (the wrong doer) back on the right path.”  These are wonderful descriptions of what true restoration, healing looks like.

Verse 2 says for the restorer to Carry each other’s burdens.”  We lessen the load by helping carry the burden.  As readers of this passage, we respond by describing this action as “wonderful, Godly, the real deal, need more of this, this kind of action will change the world.”  However, in real life, carrying a burden is very difficult and most likely “tough, tedious, time-consuming, frustrating, selfless, costly, even hurtful.”  Hence, the reason that restoration must be done in the Spirit.  This kind of effort with a gracious attitude flows from the heart of Jesus alone.

Finally, the biblical passage says the action of restoration “fulfills the law of Christ.”  What is the law of Christ?   Matthew 22 tells us, 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Let’s carry one another burdens in the Spirit of Jesus.  We are operating smack in the center of His heart when we do.  And, our world, our family, our friends change little-by-little when we do.  Living this out “preaches much louder” than our talk.

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