2. Bearing one another’s burdens - 6:2-5
2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.”
When we read what Paul wrote, “carry each other’s burdens” we first ought to think of the sin in which our brother was “caught.” This would be a continuing relationship of ministering to the brother and helping him through the problem that got him there. But, of course this phrase means more than that. Paul is calling all Christians to live by the Law of Christ, the Royal Law of Christ. Many have termed this law as the “law of love” for God is love. Others have said that this is a reference to the opposite of what the Judaizers were talking about by following the Law of Moses completely. We have seen in the Gospels, Jesus speaking to the disciples and to others of the greatest commandment.
Leviticus 19:18, “...love your neighbor as yourself; I am Yahweh.” or
Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” or
John 13:34-35, 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We are called to love one another and when we do that we are most like Christ. We are called to carry each others burdens, therefore we need to be involved with others lives so that we might be there when they have a burden to help carry or when they fall to temptation to help restore them. If you isolate yourself you will never know of the burdens others are carrying.
In this process of helping others who have trouble, we are called to be careful to watch out for our own life not to be tempted but Paul also writes to tell us that we should not feel we are too good to help others or that we are far beyond others in our goodness that we might never need someone else’s help when we are in trouble. You know when someone else “thinks he is something,” when everyone but him knows that he is nothing. The only one he deceives is himself. Are you willing to look at your life with a reality check? If you do you might be surprised that you are not as you think you are. Don’t deceive yourself but be willing to look at the truth! Part of this problem is that we don’t ever look at the truth or “test our own actions.” We are either too stubborn to learn the truth or we are actually unaware that we are what we are. If you were willing to get close to others and be honest with them and they with you, your image of yourself might change and truth might prevail. If you do test your own actions looking for the truth, then being quite honest with yourself you might make a discovery that you have been comparing yourself with others rather than living in the light of the person of Jesus Christ. Go ahead, compare yourself with Christ! You will fail every time.
Now some who read verse 5, “for each one should carry their own load.” (KJV - says “burden” for “load”)think that there is a conflict between this verse and the verse 2 when it calls to help carry the burdens of others. The translation of the two words are different. In verse 2 it is “burdens” and the word burden in verse 5 means “load.” Vaughan once again says, that the burdens of verse 2 denotes a crushing weight. But the reference in 5, the word was used of a soldier’s pack. Phillips says, “For everyone must ‘shoulder his own pack’” The reference is to those responsibilities of life which cannot be shared by another and for which a man will be accountable to God at the judgement. Commentator Burton interprets verse 5 as referring to the burden of one’s own “weakness and sin.” “It is the man who knows he has a burden of his own,” he explains, “that is willing to bear his fellow’s burden.”