“Brothers if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself or you also may be tempted” Galatians 6:1
Have you ever felt the weight of another’s burden?
Have you ever tried out of compassion to help someone by shouldering their load?
How did it make you feel when that person fell back into their old troublesome ways as soon as you stopped helping them?
Where is the line between being a compassionate servant and a naive enabler?
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ” Galatians 6:9
As firefighters we are used to stepping in and carrying the burden of another but are we missing the point of this verse?
There are times when we are to lend a hand and there are times we should not.
But we should always be willing to offer them our heart.
The pain of watching someone you love fail is a heavy burden but the pain of them never learning from it can be a lifelong disaster.
God disciplines those that He loves just as parents discipline their children out of love. It is not punishment as it is a correcting loving guidance that brings us back to the right path often with a few scrapes and bruises to remember it by.
The removal of adversity doesn’t make someone’s life easier, it makes yours harder.
By taking ownership of their problems, they will never have any, and will continually be at your doorstep pleading for help.
We learn as toddlers how to walk. We wobble, fall, and shed a few tears.
Do our parents react angrily that we have fallen? No, they rejoice when we rise up and take another step in the right direction towards them.
As we face the next opportunity to help someone let us pause long enough to ask:
1) Are we fixing a short term(acute) need or a long term(chronic) need?
2) Are their physical needs met? Food, shelter, clothing, etc. if not do not withhold from them if this is in your power to do so. We seldom can focus on resolving our issues if we are homeless, hungry, and cold.
3) Is anyone teaching/mentoring them through their struggle? Are we getting in the way of that process?
4) Will my actions (however well intended) help or hinder them in their journey?
We are all called to love, serve, and lead but we must remember that we may be getting in the way of the moment this person needs to experience.
Do not take this as advice not to help others. It is not the intent of this writing to stop anyone from helping another but rather the opposite.
If we all would put more thought and prayer into our “helping” of others we may find ourselves helping them in ways we never dreamed possible.
Let us help one another grow through hard times not merely remove them altogether. Adversity is a necessary process for growth; let us come along side of others and help them grow.