Burdens & Loads

It may appear that these two verses contradict each other: Should one be expected to bear up under their own burdens by themselves, or should we help each other bear burdens together?

The literal meanings of “burden” (Greek: phortion) and “load” (Gr. baros) help provide the answer to this question:

A burden (Gal. 6:2) is so heavy that a person needs help to carry its oppressive weight. They simply cannot “go it alone” without being crushed under their burden, whether it is some form of spiritual warfare, personal failure, loss, etc.

…on the other hand, a load as used in Gal. 6:5 signifies a type of burden that we ourselves are expected to carry—our responsibility. “Load” literally signifies a pack that a marching soldier carried; and, in a way, it represents what Jesus has called believers to do for the kingdom…how they are to live and suffer for the sake of His name (Mt. 11:29 & 30).

A balanced view concerning these verses may be this: True believers should be observant to the plight of those struggling under the unbearable weights of the world, the flesh, and the enemy. Then, these Christians should act out of mercy and compassion to help down-trodden people by way of prayer and other concrete provisions, as the Holy spirit leads.

At the same time, it is good to realize that many things we are called to bear are part of the service and sacrifice we are expected to carry out during our life’s journey—our personal responsibilities. God has well-equipped us for His purposes and He is sufficient to see us through.

And so, we must be spiritually discerning about habitually asking for help, as well as offering help too indiscriminately. Prayerfully seeking God’s will is key because: The Lord may wish to stretch and grow us through difficult times with reliance solely resting in Him. Conversely, offering help too quickly to one who is supposed to bear their own load could interfere with: God’s plan and process for their personal growth and maturity in faith, as well as His intention to draw them to Him.