Last Sunday our teacher in Sunday School asked "How do we help bear other people's burdens." I knew I needed to answer but for starts, I hate answering when I could learn from others, rather than the flood of answers there was a long awkward silence.... you know the uncomfortable kind. I was about to raise my hand but fortunately someone beat me to the punch. My opportunity to share my answer passed, but over the last week that question has been on my mind and I want to reflect a little on it, just with the hopes that I can clear my mind.
When I think of carrying the burdens of others the first thing that comes to mind is the story of the Good Samaritan. We all know this story, we've all heard it hundreds of times... but I want to add a little bit of my perspective to it.
Just as this certain Jew was robbed, beaten and left to die, at one point or another we will all find ourselves in a semi-relate-able situation (hopefully not near as severe). Trials/Burdens beat us up, rob us of not only things but our pride. And as suddenly as they come they quickly leave us in our battered condition on the roadside. Sadly more often than not, like this Jew, many people are left alone. Image with me for a minute being completely abandoned and injured by the side of a road. Not just any road... a very busy road, filled with not just strangers and enemies but maybe even friends and acquaintances. Now image all these people just passing you by and looking at you with almost audible thoughts saying : "Someone needs to help them". "If I had the time I would help." "I would help, if I had the resources (i.e. money). I don't even know how I could help them." "It's not bad enough for me to get involved." And worse are the ones that pass with disgusted looks of "Well, your mess your problem."
Do you know what this feels like, or can you at least imagine what it feels like? These looks and thoughts are very common... and I, sadly, am guilty of all of them. But like the Jew I have also been the one on the roadside being overlooked and passed by many around me. It hurts, it hurts beyond reason. You need help, you may not be sure as to how others can help, but you ask for help, you beg for help but despite the crowds around you... no one is willing to take the time to help. Like I mentioned their thoughts are almost audible, and every thought is just another excuse or justification of others as to why they are not helping you.
This is not bearing the burdens of others...not at all, as a matter of fact it is a prime example of adding to the burden. Every passing glance, down cast eye, and every exaggerated detour around you just adds weight to your load. It creates that huge lump in your throat that prevents you from the ability to ask for help, and you just sit and wonder why no one around you will take the time to help you, it is heart-breaking.
I am sure that due to the severity of his situation, that this poor Jew was embarrassed and probably lost all will to live. And at the last possible minute it all changes with just one person. Someone can't bear what they are seeing, they are compelled to help. They stop everything they are doing, get down on the ground next to you and start putting you together. They pick you up, put you on their own mule, and walk themselves all the way into the nearest town. They take you to a decent hotel, get you a room and medical attention. They can't stay with you for whatever reason, but they take the time to find someone and pay them to care for you until they return again. The Good Samaritan is our Gospel. We are taught to lift people up, and to care for them as we would for ourselves... no matter whether they are family, friend or enemy... yet how many of us on a daily basis just pass these people by with our measly excuses. How would you feel if you were that person being looked at and repeatedly passed by?
To help bear a burden is to take action, it isn't supposed to be a pleasant experience, you might get dirty, it might be heavy and it will most likely be a huge undertaking. You may never be thanked or repaid, the person may even take advantage of your services, but it doesn't matter, what matters is your good intentions and putting those intentions to use. I honestly believe that people around us are given obvious burdens and left in our path for the sole reason to test us and see if we will stop and drop everything and do something... and if you can't do something, take the time to remain by their side until you can find someone who can. Every situation is different and some may require more creativity to help than others, but if and when we put the burdens of others first, all the other pieces fall together.
This is how we help bear the burdens of others, no help is too small. To those who have help Jacob and I with our burdens, whether it be encouragement, support, money, food, diapers, prayers, meals, notes, yard-work, babysitting, rides and ect... Thank you! Words can't thank you enough, you saw our need and you helped, even though we never asked, you helped. You have all been a Good Samaritan to us, and you have shown us through your examples how to bear the burdens of others!