SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (December 12, 2013)
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. 6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” Galatians 6:1-6.
“CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS AND IN THIS WAY YOU WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST” Galatians 6:2.
In the previous edition, we mentioned the need for believers to treat fellow believers who fall into sin with love and compassion as Christ did for us. This is not to say that we should condone sins among believers, far from that. However, we should ensure that the way we treat those who fall into temptations must be aimed at restoring them to a relationship with Christ instead of destroying them or pushing them out of the family of God. This is very important because Christ’s aim was not to condemn the world rather to save the world. So even as we take steps to discipline those who commit sins that are known to all, we should handle them with love, bearing in mind that when we also sin, Christ does not throw us out, but forgives us and reconciles us to the Father. This theme is continued in the second verse of Galatians 6 which is our memory verse above. In this edition, we want to explore what Paul meant by what he said he in Galatians 6:2.
This is a very important instruction for believers because it shows clearly that we all have burdens or may have burdens as part of our walk with the Lord. These burdens may come in different forms like the one mentioned in verse 1 where a believer may be overtaken by sin, that is, fall into a kind of temptation. In such a situation, we should help relieve such believers of such burdens by helping them out of their situation and also help by preparing them to overcome future temptations. This is very important and is needed by all of us. It is important because we are all weak and therefore fallible. Since we are human and fallible, unlike God who is not fallible, there is the need for us to help one another through prayers and words of encouragement and knowledge to help each other stand firm in the Lord.
IF WE DECIDE TO GO SOLO IN OUR CHRISTIAN WALK, WE CANNOT DO IT. WE NEED OTHERS TO HELP US STAND FIRM IN THE LORD JUST AS OTHERS NEED US TO STAND FIRM IN THE LORD.
It is important for us to help one another in our weaknesses to ensure that we all grow into full maturity in Christ. Paul is therefore reminding us to be each other’s keeper when it comes to issues relating to sin. When we see a brother or a sister doing anything that could cause him or her to fall, we have a Christian responsibility to draw their attention to them and if they should become aware and take heed, may be saved from fallen into sin. This can sometimes create problems in situations where those we may be trying to help may misunderstand or misinterpret us or blatantly refuse to heed to our pieces of advice. It can even destroy our relationship with our fellow brethren. That is why it is necessary for us to approach such people with love and not in arrogance. If we approach believers moving towards sin as if we are more righteous than they are, we may not be helping them. However, IF WE APPROACH THEM WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION BACKED BY PRAYERS, WE ARE MORE LIKELY TO HELP THEM AND STILL MAINTAIN A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM. It must however be understood that no matter how much love and compassion we show; no matter how good our intentions may be, not everybody will take our word. BUT THAT SHOULD NOT DISCOURAGE US BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN COMMANDED TO HELP THE WEAK!
Helping each other to stand firm in the Lord and not falling into sin is not the only way to carry each other’s burdens. Christians can carry each other’s burdens by supporting those who are in need of emotional, psychological, or financial aid. Among believers are different categories of people. The people in the body of Christ do not comprise only the spiritually mature and immature, it also comprises the poor, the needy, the sick, the bereaved, widows, orphans and the invalid etc. Different people in the body of Christ have different needs. I think everybody in the church has some kind of need. Therefore everybody in the body of Christ needs others to help them out of their needs. In the early church, it was the same. The church was made up of slaves and masters, Gentiles and Jews, men and women, poor and rich etc. It is God’s design to bring all of us together to help each other in him. It is the responsibility of the entire body of Christ to mourn with those who are bereaved, encouraging and consoling them. People who are bereaved may be going through a lot of emotional as well as financial challenges and may resort to anything to help relieve themselves of such burdens.
THE WAY WE DRAW NEAR BEREAVED FAMILIES OR OTHERWISE COULD DEEPEN OR DAMPEN THEIR FAITH IN THE LORD. IT IS THEREFORE IMPORTANT FOR INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS AND THE ENTIRE BODY OF CHRIST TO HELP CARRY THE BURDENS OF THE BEREAVED. WHERE THERE IS THE NEED FOR SPIRITUAL ENCOURAGEMENT WE SHOULD NOT DENY THEM. WHERE THERE IS THE NEED FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT, WE SHOULD EQUALLY DO OUR BEST TO SUPPORT THEM.
It is very sad that in certain places the bereaved families are left to carry their own financial burdens whether or not they are able to do so simply because they either COULD NOT PAY church welfare dues or REFUSED TO CONTRIBUTE towards others who were previously bereaved. For those who refuse to contribute towards the needs of others by way of funeral contribution or whatever your church may call it, the church may be right because it may discourage others from repeating such attitude. But won’t it be even better if the body of Christ will learn to repay evil with good as we find in Scripture?
“DO NOT REPAY EVIL FOR EVIL. BE CAREFUL TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT IN THE YES OF EVERYBODY” Romans 12:17.
“DO NOT TAKE REVENGE, MY FRIENDS, BUT LEAVE ROOM FOR GOD’S WRATH, FOR IT IS WRITTEN: “IT IS MINE TO AVENGE; I WILL REPAY, SAYS THE LORD” Romans 12:19.
Christians should show love even to those who refuse to show love to us or to others. We should not treat them in the same manner they treat others. They may be judged by God for not supporting those who needed their love and care. And what will happen to those of us who also treat them in the same way? Are we also not going to be judged by God?
Apart from those who may blatantly refuse to contribute towards the bereaved in the body of Christ, there are those who genuinely are not in the financial position to pay welfare or funeral dues as you may call it in your denomination. It is the responsibility of the church to help such people instead of neglecting them for not paying in support of others. If we neglect those who are bereaved simply because they did not have money to contribute towards others who are in need, I am afraid we are trying to take the place of God. That is not our duty. Our duty is to carry each other’s burdens. Let us obey God’s word and do as we have been directed to do and receive the blessings thereof. If we fail to do that we may have to answer to God some day.
Even as we encourage individual believers and the entire body of Christ to support those who are bereaved whether or not they contribute towards others, every believer should also know his or responsibility towards others. If we do not help those who are in need, we are shirking our responsibilities not only towards our fellow believers, but ultimately towards Christ! In the next edition, we shall continue to look at some other areas where believers
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 7
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 6
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 5
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 4
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 3
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 1
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.