So few people understand how to “bear one another’s burdens”, especially when it comes to grief.
I don’t fault those who are bad at it but do in fact actually try.
I do however find fault with those who don’t even try. Because you should.
Over and over we are commanded in Scripture to fulfill the “one another…” commands.
Some of these we do better at than others and I think attending to our brother’s mental and spiritual health is probably one where we’re lacking.
There is a massive need for counseling in the church.
Countless people, even before the last two years of this pandemic, who silently and continually carry around really significant burdens and do so largely in isolation.
Part of that is because nobody can afford the professionals.
The other reason is we can so rarely seem to get past the noisy shop talk, the programs and the “doing stuff”. We so rarely take time away from the busyness of “church life” to simply slow down and go deeper. Really get to know our brothers. To know them intimately.
Sure we do the quick prayer requests for the light and mundane stuff. Job stuff, Aunt Edna is sick again. Very rarely does the really heavy baggage come out of the closet.
I can’t help but think the primary reason for that is people are afraid if they share what’s really going on in their heart that their brothers and sisters will just look at them in bewilderment and awkward silence.
I think they’re afraid nobody would be willing to even enter into whatever it is they are going through.
And I think they’re probably right.
That’s some heavy lifting.
And frankly, most just aren’t willing to put in the work of love.
So we keep it surface level. We only reveal what we feel will be received. And the real heavy stuff, that stays in the closet to be carried out in isolation.
So the issue remains, we have a massive need for real counseling in the church.
But here’s the deal. We don’t need professional counselors to help our brothers and sisters who are grieving, anxious, depressed. We don’t even need to push this significant burden on the church staff because they’re the “professionals” and we’re just an unqualified pew sitter.
And those are really poor excuses anyway for failing to love our brothers and sisters well by helping them to bear their burdens. Because we don’t need professional counselors, we don’t need church staffers, we just need brothers and sisters who are willing to come along side and love one another in a deeper way.
We simply have to love them.
We have to stop thinking about ourselves long enough to actually take notice of our brother’s countenance and then when the Holy Spirit moves upon our hearts, instead of suppressing that inclination to ask, “Hey brother, how are you doing? I mean really? Are you okay? I just want you to know that I love you. The Lord loves you. And I’m hear to share your burden with you in any way that I can.”
You just have to be willing. You don’t need to be a professional counselor to do that. You don’t need to be a church staffer or have a seminary degree to do that.
You simply have to care enough to ask. Or to follow up. Or to stop saying, “I’ll be praying for you.” and instead say, “Okay, let’s just pray right now okay.” And then pray over your brother. And then follow up with them. Check in on them. Give them liberty to take some of whatever weight their are carrying around and throw some of it on your shoulders.
You don’t need a degree and certifications to do that. You just need a heart that’s inclined toward your brother and his welfare.
But here’s the deal. A heart that works like that is only born of the Holy Spirit. No natural man can love his brother like this. The Lord however, he loves perfectly. And if we would simply yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives, if we would simply embrace his fellowship, like he’s a real person (because he is) he would work mightily in us to be ministers to our brothers in their need. To bind up wounds, to share in burdens to fulfill the law of Christ. “Love another.”
So here’s my challenge to you.
Are you doing this?
Have you ever stopped the surface level chit chat and actually asked your brother, “Hey man, how are you doing? You okay? Need to talk?”
If you haven’t, then you probably should.
I’d encourage you to pray and take this to the Lord. Ask him, “Lord, who needs me to share their burden?” And then wait and listen. He’ll show you. He knows who needs to be ministered to and exactly how that ministering needs to be done.
You just have incline your ear to him, that’s all.