Bearing one another’s burdens

As of late, I have asked family and friends to bear my burden. This excerpt from a sermon by 20th century Reformed theologian Karl Barth is worth passing along.

Bear one another’s burdens. (Gal. 6:2)

No one can get rid of another person’s burdens, or the nuisance that they cause. And they are precisely what we are not supposed to want to eliminate! Bearing one another’s burdens means mutually suffering, enduring, and letting the reciprocal nuisance of burdens pass over us. Bearing means taking advantage of the permission and possibility of mutually forgiving the experienced nuisance. Bearing means treating each other in a kindly fashion, not as we do with rude and evil people, but as with those who are poor and sick – for example, as patients naturally do when they share the same room in a hospital. Bearing is thus the opposite of blindness and indifference with regard to mutual relapses and sins, but also the opposite of all indignant accusations and attacks at their sight. Bearing consists in the support that we mutually afford, so that we assume and take up each other’s burdens as companions on the way that we have in common and can only travel to the end if we go together. Bearing also means discovering the beam in one’s own eye and finding it a lot more interesting than the speck in a brother or sister’s eyes. In this way we give each other breathing space, whereas any other course can lead to new troubles. In this way things change – not everything but some things. By  mutually carrying each other’s burdens, we do in a small and individual way what Jesus did and does in a big way, as the Son of God and perfect Savior. 

Source: Insights: Karl Barth’s Reflections on the Life of Faith


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