“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
The idea of carrying a burden does not sound appealing at face value. Carrying the burden of someone else sounds fruitless. If we’re struggling under our own burdens, how can we find the strength to carry another’s? Yet, this verse speaks of the benefit believers receive as a result of carrying the burden of another. We will fulfill the law of Christ.
This hopeful and uplifting passage appears in the Book of Galatians and was written by the apostle Paul. Paul discusses with fellow Christians that they should work to uplift those around them. He doesn’t explain how, but he does express there is a benefit. Christians should offer support to others, not to their own detriment, but to the benefit of themselves and the other person. In the end, they will reap the reward for their labor, but only if they do not quit.
The sentiment behind this verse that’s often used in sermons or in Bible study groups is that Christians are to support other believers in ways that build faith. If this fulfills the law of Christ, then support amongst believers is what Jesus desired.
Jesus explained that life is going to have many difficulties (John 16:33), and none of us are meant to face them alone. But facing challenges as a community make us all the more stronger (Ecclesiastes 4:12). While the idea of mutual support is clear, two questions still remain.
The Essential Questions to Ask about Galatians 6:2
What is the law of Christ?
Jesus gave His disciples a number of lessons, but which one is the law of Christ? Are all of the precepts considered the law of Christ or is there a specific teaching?
And finally, how exactly do we bear one another’s burdens?
When supporting others, sometimes we may want to pick and choose who we give attention to. We may give preference to fellow believers, members of our family, only people outside of our family, or just our friends. Are we allowed to exclude others?
This question could potentially cause confusion, even tension amongst believers, but Jesus has given us the answers we need. He has made clear whose burdens we should bear besides our own. He has shown us how to fulfill His law, but first we must understand which law Paul is talking about.
Once we understand the law we will then comprehend how we can bear the burdens of another.
What Is the Law of Christ?
“Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)null
The law of Christ is right in front of us in this verse. Caring for others is the law of Christ, or more specifically, His law can be defined as “love.” We receive confirmation of this truth from Jesus Himself in the Book of Matthew. Jesus was approached and asked by someone who was a lawyer and Pharisee what Jesus would define as the greatest commandments. The first commandment was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 2:37). Then He delivers the second greatest commandment and this is what verifies the message from Paul.
Jesus never gives a command to love self, perhaps because we accomplish that so easily. Similarly, we have no issues loving people who have found favor in our lives. What does not occur as naturally is caring for people we do not know or those who have caused us offense. However, in Jesus’’ commandment He says to love others without adding a qualifier on who receives the love.
Paul didn’t exclude anyone in his passage either. Instead, he encouraged fellow believers to support all people, especially fellow Christians.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
We know through Paul and Jesus that no one is to be excluded from our acts of love. When we search around for people’s burdens to carry, we don’t have to search far because everyone is an option. We can still keep in mind that supporting others should not lead to the detriment of our integrity (Galatians 6:1). If we fall trying to support others, then our ability to support is thus hindered.
We now understand that Paul’s verse is further admonishment to love others as we love ourselves. When considering how we can bear one another’s burdens we can consider what we like for people to do for us. We can do the same for them.
We can also now ask a previous question again. How do we bear one another’s burdens?
How to Start Loving Others Today
How we go about showing love to others will largely depend on ourselves and the other person.
Those more prone to groups may aim to share love to more than one person at a time. Individuals who prefer one-on-one interactions may seek more heartfelt conversations with a single person at a time.
There is not necessarily a right or wrong to either because the end goal is the same – love others. We can start figuring out the best strategy for loving others by examining our own character and that of the other person. The more we know, the wiser we can be in our interactions.
Once you’re ready, here are three ways to start loving others today. No matter our personality type, there are ways to love people that will never change.
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
The words we speak matter and have an ability to not only impact us, but those arounds us. Words spoken from a teacher to a student, a parent to a child, all have an effect.
If we consider the impact of words with loving other people, we can feel motivated to pick and choose words that admonish, encourage, and provoke others into growing. Our words should reflect a Jesus-like mentality. Therefore, whatever we say should be said with love whether we are offering someone a compliment or critique.
“For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well.” (Matthew 6:14)
When we bear the burdens of one another, sometimes this means working with those who have offended us. The Bible says that everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23). If this is true, then at some point or another everyone we know will do something that negatively impacts our relationship.
Bearing with their burdens, their sin, we need to ensure that we offer forgiveness when offense arises, in the same way they would forgive us if we hurt them. Jesus bore our burdens on the cross. At the very least, we can bear someone’s burden by showing forgiveness.
3. Quality Time
The time we spend with others has the potential to mold both them and ourselves. We can show love to those around us by spending quality time together. This could include time spent in deep conversations, watching television, or going for a walk. The more we know about one another, the greater our ability to love each other.
The same is true in our ability to love God. We love Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:15). The more we know of His commandments, the more we can uphold them. The more we know how to love, the better we will be able to share that with others.
Written by: Aaron Brown
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, dance teacher, and visual artist. He currently contributes articles to GodUpdates, GodTube, iBelieve, and Crosswalk. Aaron also supports clients through the freelance platform Upwork.