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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: The Load

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Lost and drifting on this river of longing
Bowed and bloody from the weight of the sky.
Longing to call out for someone's forgiveness
But we're not sure who or why.
Maybe we're frightened like children in the darkness
Chasing shadows in the strangest dreams.
Sometimes living feels harder than dying.
Sometimes it seems like we're trapped in between."

What kind of burdens do you carry?

Maybe you have health concerns. Or maybe you face issues that pull at the foundation or your family or household. You may be dealing with stress at work. Financial worries may have you feeling confused and oppressed. Maybe your burden is one of shame because of some foolish or hateful act you have committed in the past. It just might be that you are having trouble spiritually. Maybe your burden has to do with fear and uncertainty. Maybe you fear that your iniquities will never be forgiven. It might be that you've recently lost a loved one and are feeling incredibly lonely and alone.

No matter what our burdens might be, there is one clear direction given to us through the writings of the Apostle Paul to the believers at Galatia. He said we are to "bear one another's burdens."

A support system is -- especially in these days of uncertainty -- a very necessary thing to have. Whether it's just a good friend to listen to your concerns or a group of like-minded, like-burdened people you meet with on a regular basis to share stories and feelings and to help one another through rocky times, it's good to have folks around to ease the burdens we carry.

Many times, we see someone struggling under the weight the woes that surround them, and we decide we must make a judgment about how they got in such a fix before we can help to carry their load. If the burden is there, we reason, because of some bad decision or foolish action on the part of the one who carries it, we may decide to let the person carry it on their own. If, on the other hand, the load landed on the shoulders of our friend through no fault or action of their own, we may choose to offer assistance.

I don't believe we are commissioned to judge how the load that weighs our neighbor down might have gotten there. I believe we are asked only to help bear that burden. I believe it is our duty -- not only as Christian but as fellow human being -- to look around and see whose burden we might be able to share.

There are a lot of hurting people out there.

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BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart