Bearing One Another's Burdens

Why is it that the most difficult thing to do at times is ask for help?

I think we know why. When we ask for help, it means we are vulnerable, admitting our weaknesses, and probably owning up to a mistake or two. 

It doesn’t matter that we know everyone has weaknesses and makes mistakes. We don’t want to be the one in the passenger seat. Although pride is self-destructive, we want to maintain control and handle problems on our own. It’s OK if other people ask for help—as a matter of fact, we encourage people to reach out. But this is one area where we don’t practice what we preach.

Our friends and family may or may not know when we need help. We put on a brave front and plastic smile and quote a verse about the peace of God. That’s great when we really mean it, but what about the times when we are just saying what we think we are supposed to say?

How often have we watched our friends suffer, and out of respect for their privacy and pain, we wait for them to reach out to us? It follows that the same thing happens when we get all buttoned down and try to endure while our loved ones are wishing they could help us.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

While we don’t want to be high maintenance, we are Scripturally obligated to bear each other’s burdens. Logically, this means it works both ways. As we take the weight off of others, so we allow them to relieve us.

Of course, we should go to God first in Bible study and prayer. But we forget that God often uses our friends to lift up our heavy hands and strengthen our feeble knees.

When I was a leader in a homeschool support group. I saw families begin the homeschool journey year after year, and came to us for information, fellowship, and support. Quite often they were experiencing opposition from family and friends, feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility they were taking on. Yet even in the midst of a group of people dedicated to providing help, they came and smiled and left and kept their struggles to themselves.

Year after year, I saw families become weary and get discouraged, doubting their choice to homeschool. Some decided it was all too much, and put their children back in school. Maybe that’s what they needed to do—but did they ask for help first?

They went to a place for support, but they stopped short of actually saying the words to someone, “I need help.”

Oh, but now we have the internet, where people can get help from total strangers! No need for face-to-face interaction. You can now enjoy all the perks of an intimate relationship without the intimacy or the actual relationship!

God has given us the gift of companionship through our families, friends, and church. We were built to not only need a Savior, but other people.

We don’t have to fall, we don’t have to fail, we don’t have to be alone.

When you are tired, get some rest.

When you need to refocus, meditate on the Word.

When you need wisdom and encouragement, seek out a friend.

When you are sinking, ask someone for help. Make the call, say the words.

God wants us to love and and support others, but He also wants to us to receive love and support as well.

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There are 5 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Encouraging thoughts, Susan. And I think I'm a huge offender in the "not admitting I need help" category. Not like I used to be though. What God sometimes does to teach us we need people is bring us to a point where we have no choice!  And then we're face palming and wondering "Why didn't I seek help sooner?!"

I still don't like asking for help though!

JBL's picture

This is an area of discipleship that needs to be addressed more forcefully and systematically.  Church discipleship is training to be spiritually mature, but I perceive that there is a tendency to equate spiritually maturity with spiritual and physical independence.  This is very worldly thinking, and has flown unaddressed under the radar for too long.  Asking for help and allowing others to help is viewed as a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength.  And the church will always have the issue of not fully bearing each other's burdens as long as this sort of thinking prevails.

The other side of this is that Christians need to be discipled in anticipating burdens.  Why do we need to wait until a church announcement is made that "the Smith family is having issues and needs X?"  But anticipating burdens is equally hard for me as asking for help.  It is so easy to just put on superficial blinders and tune out the lives and needs of others because "I have my own problems."

The application of John 13:35 is vast, and quite frankly, needs to be taught more both at church and at home.

 

John B. Lee

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

I think I've always waited until circumstances were beyond dire before I reached out to anyone for any kind of help. But I know I should, so I've been trying break that habit. 

My parents had 'the best way out is through' mentality, which meant we just put our heads down and barreled through whatever was going on--and that's not a bad thing, and living way out in the country breeds self-sufficiency. But it's just as easy to become isolated as it is to become self-indulgent and request prayer for every ingrown toenail. And I don't think we are effective burden bearers if we are unable to also allow others to share the load with us.

Ron Bean's picture

We spent many years in a ministry where the leader (?) taught that asking for help demonstrated a lack of faith. When a natural disaster impacted many members, he told them that they were not to accept any material assistance from others, including temporary housing provided by FEMA. 

Thankfully I learned the truth a few years after we left when I participated in the funeral of a dear saint who had managed to raise her children while living in poverty, not of her own making. Her son told us that he told his mother that he was embarrassed whenever she would ask the church for help. She responded that when she did that she was "giving other people a chance to serve Jesus!" Lesson learned!

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

....in my role as "Sunday School Superintendent" at my church (just call me the "Grand Poo-Bah"), if I didn't ask for help often, I'd be in trouble.  How exactly would a pastor make it work without asking for help?  Or would one say that he's allowed because it's spiritual help he's looking for?  Or is this very thing why too many pastors end up mowing lawn and doing plumbing, too?

One thing that comes to mind in my life--besides a rebuke for doing so much given at my own wedding reception (a cherished rebuke, BTW)--is that when people are used to helping out, it's both easier to ask, but less necessary because people will ask if you need help.  The last time I was out of work, it was amazing who came out of the woodwork to lend a hand.  Love my friends, neighbors, and relatives!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

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