As well as coming to Jesus with what is weighing us down and trusting that he will make our burdens lighter, there is a communal aspect of making the load easier for each other.

We can ask a friend to pray for us, we can confide in a pastor, we can have small group or church member help us out—all of which are importantand when we’re struggling.

But there is another aspect to “carrying each other’s burdens” that intrigued me as I read this verse and the context in which the apostle Paul told the community at Galatia to “Carry each other’s burdens.”

His instruction comes straight after:

if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1 ESV).

Jesus, of course, has taken our wrongdoing—our burdens—upon himself:

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death (Psalm 68:19-20).

Of course, we don’t save people in the same way Jesus saves, but how we approach their wrongdoing can make a huge difference to their lives. 

We see this in the way that Jesus treated people. And if we follow what he did, then we are doing what Jesus asks of us.

So what should be our response to someone who is making a mess of his or her life, someone who perhaps we think should know better?

React with gentleness not judgment

“How could they be so stupid?” may only be a fleeting thought in reply to someone else’s mistake, but nevertheless we are still passing judgment. So, we need to keep our thoughts in check and ask God for forgiveness when we take a critical view. 

Instead of responding it would never be me, consider it could have been me. We need to ask ourselves how we would want to be treated in that situation.

Jesus said: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). 

Give up pride and take up humility

 “You should never do that” is a prideful response. “I would never get myself in that situation,” is an arrogant thought. None of us are without fault. Why is it we consider another person’s misdemeanors to be worse than our own?

 Jesus said: “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7).

Allow a second, third, fourth…chance

Perhaps we think giving a second chance condones behavior or encourages the person to continue in the same way instead of changing direction. 

Jesus, however, is all about opportunities: “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).


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