Are you bearing the burdens of others in your home?
I often think about these scriptures and the promise we make at baptism. We promise to bear the burdens of others (Galatians 6:2) and to lead with compassion (1 Peter 3:8). By doing so, we fulfill the love of Christ.
A need for compassion is great and it grows by the day.
We offer compassion to the elderly. We offer compassion to the stranger as we hold the door open for them or the new mama with a screaming baby.
We see these people in moments of vulnerability and we offer empathy and kindness.
But it’s a little bit rarer to offer hospitality to one another in our home. You see, we see everyone in our home consistently and so we formulate acceptable behaviors based on an overall experience rather than always showing grace the way Christ shows us.
We hold grudges.
We get frustrated.
We lash out sometimes.
We don’t offer the empathy and we don’t always bear our family’s burdens.
Empathy is what it means to bear the burdens of those around us.
But I want to challenge you for a moment.
Christ atoned for the sins of the world. He bore the burdens of everyone.
I mean everyone.
He was able to take on the pains of this world and still extend grace and understanding.
While it is no secret we suffer in this life, we don’t have to do it alone. Christ didn’t ask us to this life alone. We can lift our family up the way Jesus lifts us up.
It is easier to offer empathy to strangers because they didn’t leave the toilet seat up again for the 19th time or put laundry on the floor or leave a sip of juice in the fridge.
We don’t see other’s shortcomings and so we have a tendency to be more open with offering them empathy. Being in a family unit forces you to check your heart about leading with compassion. It forces you to say, “am I offering compassion even though my spouse did xyz?”
The more we can offer empathy for others, the closer we get to God and understanding what Jesus has done for us.
While our ability to shoulder the burdens of others is limited, Christ is not. Christ offers help for all eternity.
How do we bear the burdens of others, and particularly our family members?
First, it is imperative you be in a good place with God. God tells us that we need to rest and feast on His word to fill our own cups.
We cannot help others shoulder their burdens if we’re not fulfilled.
That means getting some alone time in at home. It means asking your husband to maybe make dinner tonight so you can attend a Bible study. It’s fellowshipping with others. It’s having a prayer life with your spouse.
It’s showing up earnestly and being not afraid to ask for some help when you need to fill your cup.
Next, you must figure out your priorities. A little too often I see outside ministry work taking top billing over the family.
It feels good to serve others. It feels good to be a shoulder on cry on and show up for others. We are called to do so. But not at the expense of our family.
If we’re serving others and neglecting to bear the burdens of our family and show them compassion, we’re failing.
In a society preaching self-love, New Age personal development and filming our good deeds, it’s easy to see how our perception of serving in our family gets skewed.
If Jesus could bear the burdens of the whole world and we are to become more Christ-like, then bearing the burdens of one another is key and that starts at home.
Jesus was sinless and yet He bore the burdens of the whole world. He felt all our pain, sorrows, struggles, etc. He knows what it’s like to have a marriage failing or a child that is rebelling. He knows what it’s like to lose a parent or deal with illness.
By bearing the burdens of others, He has the greatest empathy for all. We too can have great empathy and compassion for others when we show up for them.
More Christ Like Love
I personally think showing up at home is imperative. If you’ve been considering showing up more fully at home, check out this quick guide. It’ll help you figure out if this is the right place for you to show up and serve. Service at home is the first step to bearing each other’s burdens.