By: Steve Leland

Galatians 6:2 (KJV) Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

How do we bear one another’s burdens?

Telling someone, “Be warmed and filled!” doesn’t really take any weight off of their back. And, yes, to bear means to lift their burden and carry it for them.

“Be blessed!” is a rather nice salutation, I mean, at least it’s not a curse, but it doesn’t go very far in the “Easing-of-Burdens Department.”

“My blessings upon you!” could be quite helpful if you actually have some blessings that are transferable.

There is one surefire prayer that I know of that will get down under their burden and put you shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It is the prayer that Daniel prayed way back when. Daniel had been taken captive, through no fault of his own, during the latest smack down that Judah was subjected to due to their lack of submission to Yah’s will. Daniel was watching his “Ps” and “Qs” while being subjected to some rather vile treatment over in Babylon. It wasn’t like he was a visiting guest from a captured nation, abuse was the name of the game. He reminds me of my favorite Bible character, Joseph, in that his eyes weren’t on his navel. These guys didn’t complain, even though they had every earthly right to. His heart was towards his country and his countrymen. Here is the beginning of his prayer:

Daniel 9:4-5 (KJV) 4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; 5 We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.

Notice specifically the “We have sinned” statement. Had he been part of the sin? No. He would have been too young to have been included before he was abducted, and he was obviously doing his best to follow Yah since then. So why the “We” thing? I have found that it is called “identificational” repentance. It’s when you join with the afflicted one on their level and pray, “Father forgive us, for we have sinned.” It is the opposite of the distancing that happens when we pray “Father forgive them, for they are a hot mess.” Can you see how the second prayer elevates the praying person above the other? “We”, “us”-- words that include.

“But,” you might protest, “His sin is bad and I don’t do those things!” Maybe you are all perfected and everything, without spot or wrinkle, but my little secret is that I’m not. I always plan on attaining perfection by my next birthday, but I’ve blown every one of them so far. The bright side of all that is that I can easily come up with a current failure in my own life so I can readily get on board with that “we and us” thing in joining with someone in identificational repentance.

Where this really stretches a feller is when the other party isn’t all that interested in repenting. It gets even rougher when they don’t believe that they have done anything wrong. We can let Job be our measuring stick, though. He was offering sacrifices for his children in case they had sinned. How much more can we sacrifice a little pride when we see someone struggling?

Whether you are kneeling beside them with your arm over their shoulder, or you are miles apart, the words are the same…“Father forgive us, for we have sinned.”
By: Steve Leland

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