Friday, June 15, 2012
You've got a friend...
"Carry each other's burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ." -- Galatians 6:2
The Message translation puts this verve with the one before it and after it and says it in way that will make sense to many:
"Live creatively friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out, Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived."
There is so much MEAT in those words! "Stoop down and reach out..." When I first read those words, I thought about some that place themselves ABOVE others. But I think it might mean that we all get low and oppressed from time to time...oppressed by our sins, but also by our circumstances, our feelings, our failures. We get so down that we can't see getting up. We need a friend to come, who is not down at the moment...someone who can stoop or bend down and SEE where we are and reach out and pull us up.
Christ's law...what is that? Jesus taught by his words and his actions. When asked, he said that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord you God with all your heart, mind and soul. He also said the second commandment is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. So, if we are loving God with all we have, we will also be able to love the people around us.Jesus also LIVED by his words and reached out to people who were down and out. Loving someone can mean you listen, you advise, you help them...you lift them up. That's what we would want someone to do for us when we are down, right? Jesus also LIVED by his words and reached out to people who were down and out.
Share or carry each other's burdens...this doesn't mean we are to take on the problems of the world. But...it means we should care about those around us enough to learn what burdens are weighing our friends down and do our best to lighten their load. I am a "fixer"...which means I sometimes think I can solve everyone's problems and FIX the situation. This sometimes gets me into trouble...rarely do I FIX the problem and end up feeling like a failure for my friend. What I forget is, I probably can't and don't need to FIX it...I just need to be there. Lightening someone's load may just be giving them a smile and giving them something other than their problems to think about for a while.
This isn't rocket science, my friends! But...if we don't bother to stoop down and reach out, we ARE deceiving ourselves! Be an ear that listens to someone today. Call a friend who has been having difficulties lately just to say hi. Do a favor for someone who isn't expecting it. Stoop down and pull someone up a bit today! The world is FULL of hurting people! We need to help each other! If you WANT a friend...BE a friend!
James Taylor had it right when he sang:
When you're down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there...you've got a friend.