February 28, 2014
Boundaries:The Difference Between Loads and Burdens
I recently wrote about the importance of encouraging others and being there for others, helping them out when you can, when you see a need you can provide and doing so. Now I would like to talk about the difference between laziness and not being able to do something for yourself due to an illness or lack of resources and the confusion people seem to have in differentiating between the two. Sometimes, in the present moment, a person is unable to provide a certain need for themselves because either of illness or health problems (whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or any combo) or due to a lack of a resource needed to be able to do whatever it is for themselves. I was reading this 40 page eBook I received for free online called Boundaries and at the beginning it talked about the difference between heavy burdens that people often carry themselves but are meant to have help with carrying, and the loads people are meant to carry themselves and they quoted scripture to go with it.
“We are responsible to others and for ourselves. “Carry each other’s burdens,” says Galatians 6:2, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse shows our responsibility to one another.” Often times, people have “burdens” too big to carry themselves. They do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge to carry the load themselves and they need help. When we sacrifice for others to help them do what they cannot do for themselves, it is showing the sacrificial love Christ showed for us by doing what we could not do for ourselves; he saved us. This is a form of being responsible “to.” (I am trying to paraphrase from the eBook instead of flat out copying word for word because I don’t want to break the law by quoting them without permission but I am still putting it in quotations so that you know what was paraphrased from the book and what is my own words). However, verse 5 says “For each one will have to bear his own load.” Everybody has responsibilities that he or she must carry themselves. These things are our own “load” that are our daily responsibility to take care of and which nobody else can do for us.
The eBook tells us that there is a Greek word for burden and for load, which will give us insight into the meaning of these verses. The Greek word for burden means “excess burdens,” or burdens that are so heavy that they weigh us down. These burdens are like boulders. They can crush us. We shouldn’t be expected to carry a boulder by ourselves because it could break our backs or crush us!. We need help with the boulders—those times of crisis and tragedy in our lives. In contrast, the Greek word for load means “cargo,” or “the burden of daily toil.” This word describes the everyday things we all need to do. These loads are like purses. We are able to carry our own purses with our daily stuff that needs to go out with us wherever we go, and in the same way we are expected to carry our own loads. We are expected to deal with our own feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as the responsibilities God has given to each of us individually, even though it may take effort to do so.”
The author of the eBook goes on to tell us that problems usually arise when people act as if their “boulders” are their daily loads and refuse help, or act as though their “daily loads” are their “boulders” they shouldn’t have to carry and the end results are either pain or irresponsibility. What the author forgot to mention was that there are people that treat people with “boulders” as if these boulders are meant to be the person’s daily load and refuse to offer help and write them off as lazy or irresponsible or both. When someone with a “boulder” does reach out to someone else for help, the other person should recognize that the person’s burden is too great to carry on their own and is not simply a “daily load” that is not meant to be carried alone. There are also situations where people are in temporary circumstances where they are seriously injured, ill, battle with some kind of health issue, or do not have enough strength, resources, or knowledge to carry the load themselves (as mentioned at the beginning of the “Boundaries” eBook). When this is the situation, help is required and when help is required and someone sees that, they need to step up and help instead of being the very thing that you accuse the other person of being: lazy and/or irresponsible because the truth is, if you see someone in need of help and you refuse to help them, you are being irresponsible and lazy, as well as selfish.
On the other hand, there are people, as the author in the eBook on Boundaries mentioned, who are lazy and irresponsible and act as though their “daily loads” God has given them to carry themselves are boulders that they need help with and don’t feel like doing “this” or “that” because that would require getting up off their butts and doing something. Not everyone falls under this category though and you need to look carefully at a situation before you judge the person as lazy and see if it is not a matter of the person not having the strength, knowledge, or resources to do for themselves what most people are able to do for themselves. Boundaries is an excellent eBook and very helpful for gaining healthy relationships with other people whether it be family, friends, or strangers and if you can find it I recommend reading it. The authors are Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and it is a Boundaries Book Series that I paraphrased a couple of paragraphs from.
It was actually reading the beginning of this eBook that, along with the way people mistreat me and misunderstand my situation, inspired me to write this blog. Yes, there are lazy and irresponsible people in this world and they tend to be selfish too. However, not everyone labeled as lazy and/or irresponsible possess either quality. Some people are doing what they can and relying on God and the kindness of others to help them do what they are currently unable to do for themselves. If other people are like me, they hold on to the hope that as long as they continue to do what they have the strength, knowledge, and resources to do for themselves that God will find ways to provide their needs and do what they cannot do for themselves and will send people who have the ability to help them to help carry their burden until they can stand on their own two feet without another human’s help. So before you go judging someone and writing them off as lazy or irresponsible, take a close look at their situation. Also, remember that nobody has the right to judge another person except for Jesus (Matthew 7:1-2).
If you do see a person being lazy or irresponsible then you can be the watchman God told us to be in Ezekiel 3 and warn them what will happen if they do not do what God tells them to do, but before you do so make sure that you are correctly reading the situation and pray to God about it. Otherwise, if you have taken a closer look and see that the person is just unable to carry the burden themselves because they lack resources, knowledge, and strength, then without judgment and without muttering about it and getting annoyed, be willing to lend a helping hand. If the burden someone else is carrying is not something you can help out with because you’re in a similar situation of not having what they need to help, find someone who can help them. When you help others bent beneath their loads in whatever way you can (whether it be directly or going to get someone who can help), it is pleasing to God and you will be rewarded by God for your help. If you are unsure how to proceed, pray to God about it. When in doubt, always pray to God and he will give you the right answer and guide you on what to do. If you offer someone help and they refuse it, then it is on them and you did your part. But do not sin against God by refusing to help someone who is unable to help themselves with a specific need because Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:42-43, “For I was hungry, and you did not feed me. I was thirsty, and you did not give me a drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison and you didn’t come and visit me.” In verse 44 Jesus says the people who didn’t help others will ask when they did this and Jesus answers in verse 45: “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” Jesus makes it clear that when you refuse to help someone, you are actually refusing to help him, which is a sin and in verse 46, Jesus says the punishment for this sin will be eternal punishment, but for those who did help (Matthew 25:35-36), will make it to eternal life in heaven. When you see someone in need of help and you have what they need, reach out to them and offer help. It is up to the other person to accept the help but you will have done your part by offering.
In conclusion, it is important for everybody to understand the difference between a “daily load” they must carry themselves and a “burden” that they need help with and other people need to know when someone is unable to do something for themselves due to lack of resources, strength, and knowledge and step in and offer help when they are able to provide that person’s need. If you know someone in your life who needs your help or you meet someone tomorrow (a stranger) who needs your help, send a quick prayer to God about it if you’re not sure what to do (whether to help) and if you feel an urge to help and have the resources, strength, and knowledge to do so, then help that person in need. If you don’t have what they need, then pray to God about it and he will lead you to someone who will be able to help the person in need. Today, if you are the person who is in an unfair situation where you do not have what you need to do something for yourself, pray to God about it and let him guide you to the right person who will be able to help you and who will help you. Remember that when you do your part (what you are able to do) for yourself, then God will do what you cannot do and will also provide outside help from someone who can and will help you out. Also remember that you have a responsibility to others, as well as yourself, to help others in need when you are able to do so. Why am I repeating myself? I want to make sure that I am clear on the message from God that I am trying to convey here about knowing the difference between carrying your own load and a heavy burden that is not meant to be carried by oneself. Hopefully the message is clear and helpful to whoever is reading this. May God bless all of you and help you (willingly) bless others when they are in need.