“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2)
Clearly, these were caring people who were seeking ways to carry the burdens of others, as Paul suggests in Galatians 6:2. Yet somehow they hadn’t noticed the needs of this woman—someone they saw every Sunday—and she hadn’t shared her needs.
Throughout the NT we are called to serve one another. Repeatedly the scripture tells us that followers of Jesus focus not on themselves, but on one another. We love one another. We pray for one another. We encourage one another. We forgive one another. We help one another. This is the beauty of the body of Christ.
When I read the Gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry – I realize that Jesus had a plan. The community that Jesus formed and lived in was not an accident, nor was it something that just evolved. It was his plan to change the world. 2,000 years later, we are here because of the community Jesus formed, and that the disciples carried on and reproduced everywhere they went.
In the beginning of each Gospel account we see that Jesus settled on twelve me. He would spend a large portion of the next three years investing in their lives. The plan was that they would “Be With” Him, and that He might send them out. Now, why would Jesus do this? He understood that’s where lives are changed. That’s where characters get shaped. So, from the very beginning, Jesus settled on the “Be With Plan.” They would learn together, study together, pray together, argue together, forgive together, and Jesus would “Be With” them.
Clearly, Jesus was teaching them the importance of being together. Christianity is not to be lived in isolation. God has created us for community.
There are a couple of things I want you to notice in this verse from Galatians 6. As we serve one another:
1. We restore those who have fallen into sin.
Some translations say “fallen” into sin, others say “caught” in a sin. Either way, a follower of Christ is struggling with a sin or sins. Paul is saying that a believer that is struggling in sin should not face it alone. Those who are spiritual stand with the brother/sister and help them to be restored.
I’ve seen people battle alone and they don’t usually win. There is strength in community: people who pray for you, provide encouragement, people who call you out and hold you accountable.
This word “restore” means to make something right by bringing it back to its former condition. In the Greek language, this word was often used for setting a bone or mending a torn fishing net.
In other words, restoration is a necessary part of the healing process. If someone we know and love, someone who is a part of our church community has fallen into sin, if they have become broken or torn apart by sin, they need someone who will come alongside them to lift them up.
2. We carry their burdens.
The word “carry” means to remove or lift an overwhelming load. Paul isn’t speaking to this Galatian church about one specific burden. I believe Paul would say to us that there are many types of burdens: sickness, loss, financial. Marriage or family, sudden tragedy, career issues, death of a loved one, and other setbacks.
Paul doesn’t focus on what the burden is or where it comes from. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that when we see our brother or sister staggering under a heavy load, we should drop what we are doing and go help them bear that load. Instead of judging them, we help them in whatever way we can.
Today’s Challenge: Commit yourself to serving others. The church is to be a community of believers, living in relationship with God and with each other. We care for one another’s needs, we are learning to love one another, we practice forgiveness, we hold each other accountable for Godly living, and we join together and carry out the Great Commission.
- What does it mean to carry one another's burdens?
- How do we help restore someone who has fallen into sin?
- Why is there so much emphasis on "one another" in the New Testament?
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