The Bible talks a great deal about how we are to deal with other people. One of those things it discusses is how we are to help each other when struggling.
Galatians 6 says these two things….
- Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)
- Galatians 6:5 for each one should carry their own load. (NIV)
At first glance, these Scriptures only a couple of verses apart may seem contradictory, but they really aren’t. Verse 2 says we should carry each other’s “burdens” while verse 5 says each person should carry their own “load.” Although the difference is slight between those words, it’s also significant.
According to merriam-webster.com, one meaning of burden is “something oppressive or worrisome.” And, also according to merriam-webster.com, load means “a considerable amount.” I take this to mean that in the context of these Scriptures, a burden is something excessively difficult or challenging to deal with while a load is a more typical struggle. Trying to survive the pain of losing someone you love versus cleaning your house, as examples.
When you’re raised to only focus on the needs of your parents, you tend to grow up thinking it’s your job to take care of people while ignoring your own needs. It’s terribly unhealthy! These Scriptures provide an excellent perspective on helping people.
When someone asks for your help, if they are suffering with a burden, then by all means, please help them if you feel God wants you to & you are able to do so. However, if someone frequently wants your help for small things that they are well able to do themselves, then it’s not good to help them. You are enabling them to be irresponsible by taking care of things they should take care of & to take advantage of you. Let people carry their own “load”! It truly is a more loving thing to do than to enable irresponsible behavior because it encourages them to do what is right- not using you or other people.
Many people won’t be pleased if you tell them you are unable or unwilling to help them, but that is not your problem. I know, you will feel guilty at first, but please remember that in spite of what your narcissistic parent(s) taught you, your job is NOT to be responsible for everyone but yourself. It’s unhealthy (mentally & physically) & out of balance to ignore yourself & your needs for others constantly!
Please remember, Dear Reader- you aren’t responsible for taking care of other people. You are responsible for helping when you can when it is necessary only. You have the right to say “no”. God did not put you here to be used, but instead to be a blessing to others.