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Burdens and Loads: Health in Community

Carry each other’s burdens,

and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.


Each one should test their own actions.

Then they can take pride in themselves alone,

without comparing themselves to someone else,

for each one should carry their own load.

—Galations 6:2, 4-5 (NIV)


So what are we supposed to be focusing on here? Other's burdens or our own load? Apparently BOTH. That seems like a lot of weight to bear, unless you understand the difference.


A load is like a backpack's worth. It's the basic responsibility of every human to take care of themselves, brush their own teeth, bring food to one's mouth, and breath deeply. It's putting on your oxygen mask first so you don't die trying to help your fellow traveler.


The burden is more like a boulder—way more than any single human should shoulder alone. We all have boulders (though they're made of different stuff), meaning we all need to be cared for and we all need to allow others to help. Coordinating the burdens is the stuff of community. It must be done if we're going to live well, but not before each one of us manages our self. It's both.


Four Questions to Ask Yourself for Communal Health:

  1. Do I carry my own load?

  2. Do I allow others to carry my burdens?

  3. Do I allow others to carry their own loads?

  4. Do I cooperate with the community to carry others' burdens?

Unsplash: Zdenek Machacek

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