When Should We Bear Another's Burden?

Paul wrote that "every man shall bear his own burden," but in the same chapter (Galatians 6 KJV) he also stated, "Bear ye one another's burdens."

Are these two phrases contradictory? Not if we understand that the Greek word for "burden" is different in these two verses. Every man should bear his own daily burdens, the routine tasks. But when someone has an extra heavy load, then we are called to share in that load.

Our prayer circle had a request from a single working mother who had been deserted by her husband and forced out of the role of housewife to that of working mother. She wanted prayer because she was both sick and discouraged. It is this kind of heavy burden that Paul says we are to bear for one another.

We bear the heavy burdens of others through intercession and also through loving acts. Expressed love can be the offer to babysit, financial help, donated casserole or loaf of bread, flowers from the garden or encouraging words. Isaiah 58 can be applied in practical ways as we see those who need spiritual food, shelter from the attack of the enemy, and freedom from depression.

Dear Lord, give us eyes to see those who are caring extra heavy loads and give us ideas of ways to help that they most need.

"This is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help" (Isaiah 58:6-7 NLT).