“The devil’s strategy for our times is working. He has deluded us into believing that we really shouldn’t concern ourselves with being our brother’s keeper. And who really needs our help anyway? I’ll tell you who—just about every person we meet, that’s who.” — Charles Swindoll
Some of the lyrics of the popular ballad, “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother” read:
So on we go, His welfare is my concern,
No burden is he to bear, We’ll get there
For I know He would not encumber me.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.
Consistently loving and caring for someone who has mental and emotional issues can often seem very heavy, draining, exhausting and all consuming. For many it may feel like it requires too much of them and it is easier to just walk away. The problem for the sufferer is that they can’t walk away. They may often feel like running away and escaping their situation but they can’t because it is who they are. No place to run – No place to hide- It is always there- It is who they are – It is their life. It burdens them to be a burden to anyone. They don’t even want to think their needs are too much for someone they love and care about. This is why so many people suffer in silence. Another verse of the song says:
If I’m laden at all, I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart isn’t filled with the gladness
of love for one another.
In scripture we are challenged by Christ’s directives and commands to care for one another. He says in Matthew 25:40, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” A good example in scripture of caring with persistence for a brother in need was in Mark 2:3-4:
“Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.”
Their persistence and commitment dramatically changed this man’s life. Bev Engledinger writes about what it means and entails to be a “stretcher bearer”:
“Would you be my stretcher bearers, when I can no longer stand?
Would you each pick up a corner of my pallet in your hand?
This burden’s just too heavy, I find I cannot bear
its pain, its grief, its sorrow; and so I chance to dare-
To ask if you would carry me through valleys dark and wide;
Then set me safely down again where peace and hope abide.
God said His yoke was easy and His burden would be light;
That’s surely why He sent you each to lead me through the night
And now I must lift others and the burdens they may bring;
I’ll be a stretcher bearer carrying wounded for the King.”
Will you choose to be a steadfast stretcher bearer for the King in the life of someone who is in pain?
“This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed His life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” ~ I John 3:16-17 (MSG)
Reflections on MY BROTHER’S KEEPER
When thinking of the word Steadfast, a certain verse always comes to mind. I Corinthians 15:58 says “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, know that your work is not in vain in the Lord.” This verse is at the end of a chapter about the eventual death of our mortal bodies and the victory of the Lord in resurrecting our eternal bodies. The focus is Eternal Perspective. No matter what we see all around us, no matter how hopeless things may appear, no matter how tired we get of the struggle of just living itself, we must have confidence and hope in the Lord and in His eternal purposes.
We want to be a part of what lasts forever. We want our time and deeds to count and last after we are gone. Instead of getting discouraged by the continual hurt and needs in this corrupt and decaying world, God is calling us to stand firm and live for Him on a consistent daily basis. He calls us to be sensitive to the leading of His Holy Spirit so that we can be His balm of healing and peace in the wounds of our brothers and sisters.
We don’t have to carry the actual burdens of others…we just need to be available to walk alongside them on their journey as they “yoke up” with the Lord and let Him carry their burdens. We are just the “skin”…the shoulder to cry on, the hand to hold, the hug to comfort as God Himself comforts their spirit.
Prayer for the hurting person:
Help this one whose heart is heavy with the burdens and cares they bear to turn to You as their refuge. May they find strength by leaning into Your strength. You tell us in II Corinthians 12:9 that Your “strength is made perfect in weakness.” Help them to realize that You have all the strength that they need. Bring them brothers and sisters in Christ who will commit to staying involved in their life and to help be their “burden bearer.”
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Prayer for the helper:
As I go through my daily life, help me to watch for heavenly opportunities where You want to use me to help meet needs in the lives of others. Place my focus on You Jesus where it belongs. Help me to take my eyes off myself and my “wants” and to turn to You and allow You to mold me into a believer who models Your love in my life. If I allow You to love through me, then I will be doing Your will. Help me to yield control of my life to You every single morning.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.