The above is a direct quote of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, 6:2. Wow! Helping someone with their troubles fulfills the law of our Lord? Yes, that is what his apostle writes, but how do you bear another’s burden? Following are a few suggestions:
Ask how they are doing, then listen to their response. In the process of listening, keep your judgments and advice to yourself. Those with heavy hearts can find great comfort in someone who cares enough to listen to their troubles without
trying to fix them.
Reflect sympathy or empathy if you have been through similar
circumstances. Learning that others have been up against the same struggles can give them hope for themselves. Just be careful that you don’t steal the moment to talk about yourself.
Offer to pray for them and then really pray for them. If circumstances permit, pray with them right then and there. There is relief-giving power in having another pray for you. As the recipient of countless prayers, I know.
Acknowledge their difficulties. Resist the temptation to downplay or minimize what they are going through in an attempt to cheer them up. We need others to see our hurts without making us feel weak or stupid by telling us how we are supposed to feel.
Never, never try to one-up them by telling how much worse you have it; even if you do have it worse. Putting their needs first and ministering to them in their hurt, is as it turns out, a great way to relieve yourself of some of your own
burden. Don’t ask me how that works, but it does.
If you are willing and able, ask them if you can help? Perhaps you see resolutions they are missing. You may have resources they know nothing about. It could be that God has put you in their path in order to help them in ways only you can. Like Philip with the eunuch, or the little boy with the five loaves & two fish, or even those who provided the upper room & donkey that Jesus needed in his work. So do good as you have opportunity (see Galatians 6:10 in the same context).
Be advised, however – their discomfort may make you uncomfortable, so be ready to resist the temptation to make them feel better simply in order to make yourself feel