Monday, October 30
He Ain't Heavy...
The road is long / With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where / Who knows when
But I'm strong / Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother

You know how sometimes you hear something, and it registers somewhere on a subconscious level...then you hear it again, this time from another source, and it rings a bit louder...and then, yet again, you read or see or hear it a third time, and you figure it's time to pay attention?

I've been thinking through what it means to "bear one another's burdens" because of this very thing. I've seen this theme multiple times in the blogosphere through unrelated sources, I've heard it from our pastor, I've listened to it in song, and I'm living it with family and friends.

At first thought, it seems obvious what it means. From a biblical perspective, my immediate thoughts go straight to Galatians 6:2, "Carry each other's burdens...". Michele over at My Life Under the Sun wrote an encouraging post on this very thing. Using the truth of Scripture, she reminds us of the blessings received as a result of sharing our lives--and concerns--with one another. She goes deeper to expose the purpose and intent of our own struggles in light of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. As God comforts and heals us from our own battles we are taught by example, and through experience, gain understanding, enabling us to "know" how to comfort others. Thankfully, our struggles are not random or pointless; they reveal our desperate need for God, who in turn uses them for our good and His glory, eventually sharing what we've learned to bring hope and healing to others.

Another post that had me thinking was a two-parter from Senselight. She initially shared her conviction of self-absorption, and the tendency many of us have to (half) listen to others without doing anything else to bear their burdens with them. Sure, saying "we'll pray for them", but that often being a perfunctory response rather than a real call to intercession on their behalf. As she sought the counsel of Scripture, she discovered something "new"--she looked specifically for verses that used the language of "bearing burdens", and what she found, I think, surprised her. Using Matthew 11:28-30 as her basis, she saw that Christ alone is to bear our burdens. Our responsibility as believers in bearing with one another is to point them to Him. God alone is the one who brings freedom and grace and peace and forgiveness and healing and redemption and liberty...and perfect love.

(Read both of their original posts to have a clearer understanding of what they actually said, my brief summaries don't do their posts justice, and I'd hate to think I in any way misrepresented what they intended to say.)

Keep in mind I'm sharing my thoughts on this because of several situations close to me, and the timeliness of reading these posts when I was already contemplating a right response to these friends who are struggling through Real. Life. Issues. Their stuff is much "bigger" than me and my limited knowledge, biblical or worldly, yet I'm in their lives, they've invited me "in", and I don't want to be passive in my response (the "yeah, I'll pray for you" route without really, truly doing a thing, 'cause isn't my life full enough of my own stuff....).

This post was actually begun M O N T H S ago, and although some of my friends' circumstances are resolved, some are on-going, and for others, new struggles have begun (or maybe they've been in existence a while, but I just learned about them). I continue to seek the counsel of scripture and cogitate my response to beloved people who are hurting, struggling, desperate for answers, marinating in the pain of sometimes self-inflicted wounds or drowning in a sea they never saw coming. Some who have a shared faith, others who don't, but all looking for relief. I'm not interested in co-dependency or simply "meeting" their closeted skeletons (those "bones" can be quite juicy, exactly the grist the rumor mill craves and devours); but if I'm in their lives and they've trusted me with their battered or broken hearts, is it possible for me to play a part in their healing? Not as "the" healer, but as a vessel that brings relief, even if only in part?

Well, this is getting l o n g and I'm just getting started, but still, it seems to be a good stopping place for now. More soon as I try to get my thoughts on "paper".

  Into the pensieve on Monday, October 30, 2006
  Your thoughts, please (7)

At October 30, 2006, Blogger Pamela said...

I'm glad you wrote about this. This subject came up in home group a few weeks ago

I'm going to print it out - link to the Michele and the others.

(PS. I'm praying for blogger. Well, truthfully, I'm praying that I will overcome blogger. heh heh)

At October 30, 2006, Blogger Karmyn R said...

Sometimes just knowing someone else is praying for you makes all the difference in the world.

At October 30, 2006, Blogger LeftCoastOnlooker said...

What a wise friend you are, to care enough about others to go beyond mere words -- you are seeking to be Christ's love & His hands. I know it looks like words, but I mean it, I will be praying for you, for wisdom & strength.

"A word, fitly spoken..."

At October 30, 2006, Blogger Carol said...

What's this? Do I sense the gift of mercy at work here?

Being the signpost that points another to Christ is what it's all about, isn't it? While those with burdens are to give them over to Him, we are to be available to help them do that. Meanwhile, we have to be willing to let go of those same burdens ourselves, right?

Easy for me to say, don't you think?

Way to minister! Keep it up.

At October 31, 2006, Blogger Gattina said...

Taking someones burden over can be very dangerous. It depends on your character. If you only absorb all problems of others and make them to your own, then it becomes dangerous for both parts. But if you are able to put a limit between you and the other persons "burden", then I think you would be a help. But it is not easy.

At October 31, 2006, Blogger Robin said...

Pamela, your homegroup sounds interesting (you've mentioned it on more than one occasion). I hope as I continue this post, I'll be able to communicate clearly my thoughts...I'm not so sure I'll make my point tho :/.

Karmyn...agreed :).

LCO, I have come to see you as a blogmate who has MANY words fitly spoken (and thank you for all of them, good, bad or ugly ;) ).

Carol, who knows? "She loves Jesus", so it's whatever THAT comes to mean (many things for many people). Sometimes I wonder WHAT I'm pointing to, but I know what I always HOPE to point to....

Gattina, point well taken. I've gotten into trouble in the past w/not setting proper boundaries--I didn't even realize I needed to. Once you're burned there, there's definitely a lesson learned.

At October 31, 2006, Blogger Catez said...

I'm not interested in co-dependency or simply "meeting" their closeted skeletons (those "bones" can be quite juicy, exactly the grist the rumor mill craves and devours); but if I'm in their lives and they've trusted me with their battered or broken hearts, is it possible for me to play a part in their healing?

Well said. I have to get a steak and cheese pie now - I'm so hungry. But I did very much like what you said in that bit in particular.


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A Pensieve is a stone basin.... [One] can extract his or her own memories and place them in the Pensieve, especially to relieve the mind when it becomes too flooded with information. Anyone can examine the memories in the Pensieve, which also allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in the memories stored within...

A Pensieve first appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...

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