Summary: One another passages
Bear One Another’s Burdens
Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ (NASB)
Last week I took my dad to hospital for a check up. As we were waiting for the doctor to come and do the check up my brother-in-law came and was very worried. Working in the ER he comes across to some very serious cases. During the night they had brought him a very difficult case. The case was difficult for two reasons: 1) The cardiologists in the area she lived on had waited too long before bringing her to the main hospital of Albania. 2) It was a difficult case beyond his expertise. The moment she came in the ER, my brother-in-law knew that she was not going to make it. However trying all that was possible all night long, the moment for her death came near, so my brother-in-law left the ER. The reasoning was simple: there is nothing that can be done any longer; she will die shortly; her relatives were there and in their grief, moved by their emotions they could do uncontrolled actions.
This illustration points out to some of the questions pertaining to the bearing one another.
First, it is the question of expectations. The family expected him to save her life, but given the circumstances it was too late.
Growing out of verse one (Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted), it speaks about those who are “caught” in sin. Verses 1-5 are closely connected to Chapter 5:16-26. Remembering that the early manuscripts did not have chapter and verses, we should remember to read it out of context rather than bits and pieces. Being lead by the Spirit, or walking by the Spirit or being full of the fruit of the Spirit it is no simply an inner feeling to makes us feel good. We are expected to act it out in our care for brethren (1-5), in the support of those who lead us in the Word (6-10).
The person “caught” in sin is there not because he wanted to be there, but because he was “caught.” The expectation for us is to reach out to them and help lighten their burden. What we need to be careful is that if we don’t act quickly, the person’s heart may be calloused and it would be too late.
Second, it is the question of person, or the question of “whom.” My brother was wrestling with a case beyond his abilities. No matter how good his intentions were, he was not able to do it.
Who needs to do the burden-bearing? Seeing the danger that one may be tempted himself / herself, those who are “spiritual” are given the task to reach out. Who are the spiritual? The spiritual are those whose “fruit of the Spirit” is seen active in their lives. It takes one who has fought the battle of “walk by the sarx or walk by the Spirit,” and by the power of God has come out victorious. This individual has discernment. He understands the schemes of the sarx, and is able to avoid “pressure and tests” become temptations. These qualities make the person qualified. Satan is smart, and if not careful he may arrest our mind as well as the mind of the person in whose life we are working with. The words of Jesus before He sent the Twelve in the limited commission are not without relevance to us. Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16).
Third, it is the question of aim. My brother-in-law tried to save this person’s life, even though it was too late.
Why do we reach out to our brother or sister to leave the trap of sin they are caught in? There is no other goal but restoration. The idea of restoration is to bring something to its former state. The Greek word translated “Restore” is the Greek word katartizo (katartivzw), a term used of (a) mending nets (Mark 1:19), (b) of training students (Luke 6:40), and (c) in secular Greek as a medical term for setting a fractured bone. What is wrong in the life of the sinning believer needs to be mended or set straight with a view to spiritual growth and Christlike character? When we talk about restoration the idea is that we want to restore them to relationship with God first, and then restore them to fellowship with God’s people (the church).
Unfortunately, my brother-in-law told me that this is one of the many cases he runs into all the time. The date between the needy and the qualified happens in the wrong moment, when they are too late to build a relationship. Both have lived apart from each other too long and there is nothing that can bring them together. The reality is that in this moment some brother or sister is in need to be restored from the trap of sin caught in. My challenge for each one of us is: will we step in, and bridge the gap between the need and our God-given abilities?