Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Galatians 6:2-5 -- On the Bearing of Burdens

"Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
For every man shall bear his own burden."
Galatians 6:2-5

There is an interesting juxtaposition here between bearing each other's burdens and bearing our own burdens.  There are several similar contrasts in scripture, but usually not this close together.  For instance, if we look up "resist evil" we find two verses seemingly in disagreement.  One says "ye shall not resist evil" (3 Nephi 12:39) and the other says "let us resist evil" (Alma 61:14).  The answer, as we delve further in the scriptures, is that God prefers that we suffer wrong rather than trying for revenge... but that sometimes it is appropriate to fight and defend ourselves.  Finding the right line to walk between those two paths is part of the challenge of the gospel.  And so it is with many things, including these verses. 
We are commanded to bear one another's burdens, but also that every man should bear his own burden.  To me, it sounds a lot like what you learn as a manager, and perhaps as a parent: to provide support and assistance without removing responsibility or accountability.  Sometimes if we took over someone else's job, it would get done better and faster, but that almost never means that we should.  We can accomplish more together, but only if we all contribute to the whole.  So perhaps the answer here is that we should always be willing to help and lift others, but we should never expect to be carried.  We need to learn to "prove our own work," and learn to take responsibility, but we all get into jams sometimes, and need some help.  And that's okay, as long as we get back up and walk when we are able.
Today, let's remember that we are nothing without God, and that we all have a responsibility to work for God and to keep the commandments.  And let's also remember to reach out to others who are struggling, to lighten their loads, and help them to get back on their feet. :)

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