The Bible instructs Christians to bear one another’s burdens. Doing this effectively requires three things.
• Awareness. If you’re not sensitive to the struggles of those around you, how can you help them? Every Sunday you sit in church, surrounded by people who hurt intensely. The Lord knows the depth of their suffering and desires to release them from bondage, but He often works through His children. Thankfully, we have His Spirit to sensitize us to needs in our midst.
• Acceptance. We are not to bear burdens on the basis of how we feel about the other person. Jesus doesn’t discriminate about whom to love or help. If we want to be like Christ, we must be willing to share in the pain of others, no matter who they are. Does this describe you? Or do you limit your support to family and friends?
• Availability. Christians sometimes relegate the work of caring for others to their pastor, figuring, That’s his job, after all. Yet he, too, has burdens. Your pastor wants to help everybody in all possible ways, but if he’s the only one available to offer support for the congregation, both he and the church will crumble. A faith community thrives when people bear each other’s burdens. Ask yourself if there’s a way you can help carry the load.
Scripture tells us the whole law is fulfilled in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal. 5:14) Who then is our neighbor? The Bible tells us in Leviticus 19:34 “The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” [see also: Leviticus 19:18][ “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord”].
Next to loving the Lord with all your heart, this is the second greatest command (Matt. 22:39). Therefore, when we share another person’s heartache and burdens, we fulfill a great law of God.