This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
This month’s topic has been the call to bear each other’s burdens. Considering this subject my imagination was caught by two little words which sound exactly the same, but are spelt differently and have two very different meanings. To ‘bear’ and to ‘bare.’
Some years ago I had a dear friend whose marriage crumbled right in front of me. I should’ve seen it coming, but honestly I didn’t. I knew of some minor annoyances and frustrations – normal marriage stuff, but then out of the blue it was over and I was devastated. Could I have done more, prayed more, said more, encouraged more? If only I’d known what was really going on.
We’re commanded to bear one another’s burdens, to stand by our sisters and help lift the weight of the load they’re carrying. But how can we help bear burdens we aren’t aware of?
Recently we received an email from a ‘friend of a friend.’ We’d never met, but she knew we were Christians who believed in the power of prayer. Her request for prayer didn’t surprise me as much as the way she introduced herself: “I know we don’t know each other, so I’m really sorry if this is overstepping.”
Overstepping? She had a simple prayer request: “I’m struggling. Would you mind praying?” How could this ever be overstepping? And yet I know she’s not alone in feeling that way.
We don’t want to share our hurts, struggles, aches and loneliness; we don’t want to weigh anyone down with our mess. So we don’t. We crumble under the weight. We let it crush us, our marriages, our faith, while those around – even those we do church with – hardly know what’s happening.
It’s not meant to work this way, friends. We aren’t meant to do this life alone. But for someone to step alongside and bear the burden; for someone to link arms and join you in the battle, you must go first. You must be brave enough to share the burden, to bare the hurt.
It takes courage. No one wants to be the girl who admits her issues, the girl who over-shares; the weak and needy one, the mess. But things happen when we’re not vulnerable enough, brave enough, to ‘bare.’
Firstly, we’re crushed by the load. Ecclesiastes says “Two are better than one…. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Don’t fall alone, friends. It’s pitiful.
Secondly, we rob our friends of the blessing. It’s an honour to pray for one another. It’s part of our calling as sisters in Christ. Let’s not lose the blessing of fulfilling our calling. Bare bravely and give them the opportunity to bear with you.
Thirdly, we tell the world that silence is brave. When we grit our teeth, clench our fists and refuse to bare our hurts, we are showing our world that this is how it’s done. And we’re setting a terrible example. We must be brave enough to bare, so those around us can bear with us. You don’t have to over-share, but you do have to let others in. Standing together is always braver than standing alone.