When to Help and When Not To

Not all burdens are created equal. Paul used two different words in Galatians 6:1-5 to describe the weights Christians carry.

The first describes a HEAVY burden carried for a long time; the second refers to a barrel or a crate taken out of a ship’s hold to be set down again on the dock.

Some weight-bearing is helpful. That’s why people pay to join the local gym. They want to bear a load that will make them stronger. Some loads will build their muscles and increase their stamina. The kind of load mentioned here is like that, a temporary load like a box or a barrel being unloaded from a ship.

What if I never took my hand off my child’s bicycle? They would come to depend on my balance instead of their own. They would let me propel them down the road. They would let me keep them out of the ditch. They would become inattentive, unmotivated, and presumptuous. They would never learn to ride. I would fail as a helper.

While we need help one another with the oppressive long-term burdens of life, we also need to take responsibility for the temporary loads we are called to bear. For the Christian to depend on others to carry these loads would permanently stunt his own maturity. This steady exercise of lifting and serving, of humble self-examination is necessary to grow.

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