Supporting the Burdens of Others Day 1: Supporting Our Friends
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2, ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, ESV)
Having close friendships, people with whom you feel comfortable sharing both the good and the bad, is so important and so rewarding. I hope that right now you are smiling as you think about the people you share this deep bond with. Today in our study, I’m going to challenge you to be a good friend to those around you (not that you aren’t already). I know that I personally find myself leaning a good bit on my friends, but I also should be letting them do the same with me.
Bearing the burdens of our friends isn’t just a nice thing to do, but it’s actually a command in God’s Word (Gal. 6:2). Every Christian has areas of their life in which they feel weighed down and in which they particularly struggle. It could be financial struggles, mental health, body image, relationship struggles, addiction, and so on. We may think of ourselves as fairly strong people, but there are some burdens that just can’t be shouldered alone. Also, I want to make it clear that having or voicing your burdens does not make you a “weak person.” I had to get out of that mindset, so I wanted to voice that for any who might have that misconception. Every single one of our friends has burdens, and I pray that each of us is willing to help carry them—together.
Perhaps you want to help carry others’ burdens but you might not know where to start. It’s important to keep in mind the right time and place; things might not get far if you go from laughing and joking to suddenly trying to discuss someone’s burdens. If you notice that someone seems to be weighed down by a burden, it may be more appropriate to talk it out over coffee or offer to bring something over to their house as a way of opening up a discussion. Being weighed down by a burden can so easily bleed into other areas of our lives and can make us feel exhausted. That’s why it’s so important to meet your friend where they are and be willing to sit and listen. As someone is sharing their burden with you, sit quietly and take it all in before jumping in with opinions or solutions.
There might not even be much to say, but just being there as a friend is so valuable. I clearly remember when friends hugged me while I talked and cried over a deep burden, and those moments have stuck with me forever. Be willing to pray with them and help them, if you can, with their specific burden by checking in or even being an accountability partner with them. Be the friend who lifts up those around you (Ecclesiastes 4:10). We have an opportunity to be like Christ when we are willing to share the burdens of our friends. What an honor!
Sharing our burdens and carrying others’ burdens won’t always be easy, but it deepens the bond we share with those around us. It creates trust and emphasizes honesty in our friendships, both of which seem to be a rarity in this world. I pray that we all will be more aware of the burdens of our friends, and that we may rise to the challenge to carry their burdens as Christ commands.