“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
Paul asks us to bear one another’s burdens, and in the Galatians’ passage he is talking specifically about the burden of sin. What is our attitude when we find out that a friend has been caught in a “trespass”? Do we look at them and think, “well they deserve it”, or “they asked for it, let them deal with it”, or “I knew they were going to end up this way!” Sometimes we can have a smugness about ourselves thinking, “I would never do that!” I am ashamed to say that I have seen this attitude in myself. Sometimes we are not sure we should even associate with the sinner until they get their act together. Can you imagine if Christ had that attitude?
I think Galatians 6:3 is the integral part to today’s message: “For if any one thinks he is something, when is nothing, he deceives himself.” It is imperative for us to understand we all sin, we all fail, at one time or another. We are all weak and erring creatures. Someone else’s problem should not make us feel better about ourselves. We, as believers, have asked Christ to take on our burdens when we come to him. He has been with us through all our mistakes, failures, and sins and yet we know that he will never forsake us or leave us. We come before him daily asking for forgiveness of our sins. And we know and believe we are forgiven. Yet we can have a hard time forgiving others or understand they too have difficulties in their lives. Let us realize that we are all in the same boat and all of us have burdens we are dealing with, and some are more public than others.
May we not lose sight of the importance of reaching out to those around us that are hurting and burdened, and may we take that step to help them. One day it may be us that need that outstretched hand.