By Byron Jackson
Isolation constantly pulls on us. It’s the idea that life can be lived without the fellowship or support of others. Unfortunately, our culture is set up this way. Every effort is being made to enable us to carry out communal activities while avoiding community. Social media is one of the greatest examples of this. We see people, keep up with their lives, and never truly interact in ways that reflect biblical community. We are surrounded by people, at times even interacting with them, only to fall short of Christ’s design for community (Romans 14:19).
Galatians 6 is painted on the backdrop of what to do when another brother or sister falls. The message, speaking holistically, is quite simple—hold each other up! Putting others first, and seeking to carry one another’s burdens, helps them for the sake of Christ while simultaneously growing us into the image of Christ.
In Galatians 6, Paul ties messy interpersonal relationships with the power of Christ to transform them. To be a Christian is to live in authentic community. As followers of Jesus, we have the blessing (and burden) of being inextricably tied to other believers. Just as Christ became acquainted with our sins, grief, and suffering, we too must walk in the brokenness of life with fellow believers. We don’t have the luxury of just knowing one another’s struggles. Paul says we are to bear them––indicating that we get under the weight with our brothers and sisters to help carry the load. Community is heavy, and we cannot engage in it without experiencing the weight of other people’s issues.
The weight of burden-bearing extends beyond our hearts and places parameters on our habits. In Romans 14:13–23, Paul expresses the idea that loving our neighbor includes the responsibility to govern our actions and practices, choosing to not trample over our brother or sister’s struggles and sensitivities for our own sake. In Christ, we “consider others as more important” than ourselves (Philippians 2:4). As the body of Christ, the mission of Christ is our mission. Therefore, we are to conform for the sake of Christ’s body before asking others to conform for the sake of our comfort.
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