Preface(added 3/9/17): This post is written as a Christian towards other Christians. However, it needs to be said that we all need to care and love for our brothers and sisters and our neighbors, regardless of opinion or where our faith lies. This world is hard and full of hate. I’ve had several people that I know personally get caught up in some tough stuff the last few years, and a few have been taken by it. It’s time we put aside our differences, sometimes our own plans, even our comfort to step out and care for our neighbors. We really don’t know the extent of what each other is dealing with until we try to help and care.
Here’s a good song to listen to while you read: NeedtoBreathe – Brother
The Bible says to “love your neighbors as yourself”(Matt 19:19 ), to “look out for the interest of others”(Phil 2:4), and Jesus himself says to “love one another”(John 13:34). There are so many more instances where the Bible tells us to love, care, and assist those around us. Paul even tells the churches in Galatia, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.“(Gal 5:14).
So, okay, we should probably love and care for… others? Yes! But there’s more. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…(Luke 6:27). So, as Christians, we need to love our enemies too. We need to love those who don’t seem to care about us, who hurt us, who hate us. This is how others will see Christ in us and the work of the Holy Spirit. Loving those we wouldn’t typically think of loving, is how the Kingdom of God grows, just as Jesus Christ showed us.
“But, wait. What about me?”
“Is it wrong to take care for myself before helping my neighbor and loving my enemies”?
Let’s look at this from the spiritual and moral side of things. It is important to be willing to lay down our comfort, even our lives, for another person, just as Christ did by committing His life to ministry and then dying in place for all of us. This includes our enemies. Christ died for all, even those who mocked and spat on Him. As Christians, followers of Christ, we need to be able to show that same love.
In order to be prepared to love our enemies and care for our brothers, to face the inward things we are dealing with, we must first look into our own hearts and prepare ourselves for the things to come. As a body of believers, we need to then equip and edify each other, not ignore the burdens we carry and the issues we’re dealing with. As mentioned before, I want to look at this topic spiritually and morally, which calls for some digging into Galatians 6:1-2.
Galatians 6 is about doing good to all, even ourselves. It’s about lifting up those around us in order to fulfill the law of Christ. However, this passage is not an emphasis on comfort, wealth, or status in society. This passage is more importantly referring to our spiritual well-being and of those around us. We could have nothing physically, yet have everything in Christ spiritually, and this is exactly what Paul is trying to get his readers to understand. The prerequisite for helping our neighbors and brothers is not our material wealth, but our spiritual health.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
Paul sets the groundwork here for how we are to approach helping others, in this case, regarding immorality/sin.
- First, do so gently! This is clear here, that gentleness should be evident in a person living by the spirit. Remember the fruits of the spirit? Gentleness, patience, and kindness are all there, which is evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, the same power that rose Jesus from the grave.
- Second, watch out! Even those who are spiritually mature will find themselves tempted. Even Jesus Himself was tempted(See the story of Jesus in the wilderness(Matt 4:1-11) here). Jesus, however, was able to resist the temptations. Are we strong enough to do the same? We need to be prepared.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
It is through our work in holding each other up, showing love and support to our brothers, that the law of Christ is fulfilled. What is the law of Christ? As Paul established earlier in Galatians, “the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.“(Gal 5:14). Christ showed love to all. He came to preach the gospel, the good news, that the Kingdom of God was near, that Jesus himself had come to pay our debt that is owed from our sin, and that, through Christ, we have eternal life with God. The gospel can be described in sum with words like grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.
God, our heavenly Father, showed us love in sending His son, Jesus Christ(John 3:16), to carry the burdens of each and every one of us. Through God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love, we were given a savior who lived among us and taught us how to care and love. The word of God commands to live as Christ did, loving and caring for our brothers and those around us, that they may see Christ in us, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we can truly love and care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can also learn to love those who hate us, we can love those who hate God, and we can show them the true and real love of Christ through our love towards them. As a church we cannot do this until we learn to love and care for each other properly. Let’s take Galatians 6 to heart, carrying each others burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ through our love towards each other. Help a brother out!