Sometimes we end up knowing things we wish we didn’t have to know. A friend is going through something heavy, and because of the relationship, they tell you some very difficult things. This is often called off-loading, or dumping. Sometimes put their problems off onto you because they are too lazy to deal with it. That’s not nice. But many times the weight is just too much for them to bear, so they entrust you with part of their burden.
This is some deep stuff. Some people cannot handle being a burden-bearer. It is too much. They aren’t emotionally stable enough to carry their own stuff, much less stand up under the strain of someone else’s struggle. You probably know these people in your life. You would not entrust them with your problems. They can’t handle it.
But I’ll bet you want to be a person who can handle your own issues and help carry the burdens of others. You likely already are. In the early days of the Church, the apostle Paul explained Godly love to people who had previously only known a worldly view of love. In that description he said, “Love bears all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) This bearing of all things is a getting up under a load (any load) and quietly carrying it. While some people are better at certain things than others, you never find Jesus, or any of the apostles telling Christians to seek out counseling in the world to help them deal with their problems. God designed and created us to help each other carry what we could not carry ourselves.
We should always know that Jesus has already carried our heaviest load. And He will walk with us as we struggle in life. No one can take the place of Christ. But something special happens when we look beyond our own load and help someone else carry theirs. This is a loving and spiritual exercise that has benefits to both parties. It is the best friend who will walk a difficult path and quietly carry the baggage of another. When you bear someone else’s problems you do so graciously, not reminding them that you are working hard on their behalf. You do so with discretion, not talking about it with others.
It is interesting to know that love bears all things. That encompasses a lot of baggage. While people may ask of you more than you can handle, God will not. I should say that God will often require more than you can handle on your own, but nothing you cannot bear with Him as your strength. Remember, the church is the body of Christ. So while it is good to ask God to help you with an issue, it is unlikely that He will respond by saying, “Okay… it’s you and me, kid.” He will usually say, “Okay… I am with you, and I will carry you when you can no longer go on. But you do not have to walk this valley alone. Find a Christian partner who will pray with you, believe with you, encourage you, cry with you, and cross the finish line with you.”
We need to be people who God and others can trust to pick up their baggage and carry it for them. Bearing with someone is not just going through stuff with them. It is carrying some of their stuff so they can actually make it through their difficult journey. A porter works in locations where people are traveling… hotels, airports, train stations, etc. Your friends are traveling. And sometimes their hands get full along the way. Come alongside and offer to bear their load. Not for money… but for love.
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.