I am by nature a loner, and I tend not to share my burdens readily. Sometimes it just seems easier to fight alone than it is to invite others into my struggles. I’ve also learned that some folks simply aren’t trustworthy. On the other hand, I’m increasingly learning why it’s important that I push beyond my comfort zone and share my burdens:
- God created me with a need for others in my life. His words about Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) were not a mandate that everyone is to be married; they were, though, a reminder that God created us with a need for Him and for others. When I choose not to turn to others, I deny the theology I teach.
- To carry my burden alone can be a sign of ego and idolatry in my life. Particularly, it says, “I can handle these things by myself” even as it gives evidence of my sinful self-dependence. The idolatry I describe here is thus an “idolatry of the self.” It almost asserts that I don’t even need God in addressing my burden.
- Bearing my burdens by myself stands against several of the “one another” passages of the Bible. For example, it neglects such expectations as “let us pursue . . . what builds one another up” (Rom 14:19), “carry one another’s burdens” (Gal 6:2), “love one another deeply as brothers and sisters” (Rom 12:10), “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess 5:11), and “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another” (Jms 5:16). Aloneness in carrying burdens hardly equals “one another” living.
- God’s people really are filled with His love—and they want to help me carry my burden. Over the decades, I’ve too often borne alone the weight of pastoral ministry when I could have asked others to strengthen me. Not letting others help carry my burdens has robbed me of God-given strength and deprived them of the blessing of walking with their pastor. Letting God’s people love me more recently, though, has been freeing to me.
- Burdens really are lighter when somebody else is carrying them with you. That’s not a secret, of course. Two people carrying together twenty pounds of weight are less burdened than one person bearing the full twenty pounds. Using an image that speaks of my love of nature, one writer put it this way: “Like people hiking a trail, we not only shoulder our own backpacks, but we help out with other people’s loads when the trail gets too steep, they get too tired, or their feet get blistered—whenever they need assistance.” Amen.
Let us know if you’re carrying a heavy burden today so we might join you in prayer.
This article originally appeared on ChuckLawless.com and is reposted here by permission.