Galatians 6:1-5 ESV
Bear One Another’s Burdens
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load.”
The Amplified Bible articulates these same verses this way: “Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbour. For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults].”
Of course, this is the Apostle Paul speaking, an eye witness to the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8).
We humans are a fickle lot. Part of our fleshly nature is to compare ourselves with others, note where and how we are different from those with whom we observe. We make judgements all the time about others based on the mannerisms and what we see in others. We are quick to observe faults in others but slow to see the same faults in ourselves. I think that most of us, myself included, do these things most times without even really thinking about it. It’s like it just happens naturally. I’m pretty sure that is why Jesus and the rest of God’s Word spends so much time in warning us about our process of making decisions.
Of course, when God looks at us and others, He does not base his understanding on our mannerisms and what we outwardly exhibit, He looks at our hearts. And if we are to have the mind and heart of Christ, then we too must learn to be mindful of what God knows that we do not know.
When we read some of the Epistles of Paul, be it to the Corinthians or the Galatians as an example, it is relatively easy to say to ourselves how immature these early Christians were and how we easily understand what Paul is trying to impress upon them. But the errors of performance approval, commonly referred to as legalizers or those under the Law within the Scriptures, can take many forms. We nod our heads in agreement when Paul states that circumcision in itself, whether you are or are not, means nothing unless our hearts have been circumcised (Galatians 6:15).
Sometimes I am ashamed of the judgements that I make, of the thoughts that come into this mind of mine. How quick I am to invoke my superiority when viewing the outward ministering of others. This happened to me this last Sunday as I watched and listened to our Pastor deliver his sermon. Too simplistic I thought, until I saw the tears in his eyes. I have a lot to learn.
“Restore in a spirit of gentleness“, being mindful that we too can so easily be waylaid. “Bear one another’s burdens” being mindful that we too are not exempt from our own faults. When we think of ourselves as “something” when in fact we are “nothing”, we miss the whole point of God’s grace, of God’s forgiveness, of God’s mercy.
“For each will have to bear his own load“. The load of our own transgressions are there for a reason, because we, like those with whom we gaze upon, are one and the same. Remember the parable that Jesus gave us about the servant who was forgiven by his master for that which he could not repay (Matthew 18:21-35)?
Galatians 6:10 NIV: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Kind of puts a different spin on the “restoring” aspect of the first verse of Galatians 6:1 doesn’t it?
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!