I’ve often heard this verse used to motivate us to come alongside of those who are going through a difficult time in life. If that is what this verse is all about then I’ve had so many opportunities to help “carry” another’s burden this week. I’ve spoken to a mother whose son is in Children’s Hospital. I’ve prayed for a wife who is grieving the loss of her husband. I’ve tried to encourage a young couple whose marriage is on shaky ground.
There are plenty of verses in God’s Word to inspire and encourage us to come alongside of those who are hurting with life’s challenges, but this is not one of those verses. If we will read Galatians 6:2 in its context we can learn that this verse is aimed specifically at helping to carry the burden of those who have been “caught” in sin. This is especially important for those who are followers of Jesus to understand.
So often, when a brother or sister is “caught” in a sin and their sin is broadcast to the world, we withdraw rather than rush in to pray for and help draw them back to the Lord. I’ve known people through the years who were very involved in the life of the Body of Christ and then suddenly something happened. An affair exposed their sin, a night in jail for a DUI marked them, or a job lost for “moral failure” branded them with the scarlet letter. And they slipped into the dark never to be seen in the fellowship of God’s people again.
We can claim that we didn’t know what to say or do, but that’s not relevant. We are called to “carry each other’s burdens.” The next time a friend is caught in sin I want to refuse to think about what I’ll say when I get there and just go. Go and trust that the One who calls me to help shoulder their burden of shame and guilt will provide for me everything I need to show them Jesus’ love and grace.