October 16, 2017
by Pastor Chuck Swindoll
Imagine two mountain hikers trudging along, each carrying a backpack.
The one on the left has a light pack that a child could carry. The poor
soul on the right is so loaded down we can’t even see his head or
body . . . just a couple spindly legs wobbling under the burden he’s
The hiker on the right illustrates how life often feels—plodding
along an endless march up a mountain with a pack too heavy for one person.
Life’s burdens weigh heavy on us, we feel we can’t go on, and
we wonder, How could anybody love me . . . especially God? That
thought hits worst when we glance to the left. Our packs feel like they
might buckle us, while the other guy’s seems virtually nonexistent.
Comparison is lethal! When you’re down—I mean
bottom-of-the-ocean down—if you focus on how easy others have it,
self-pity will siphon that last drop of motivation you need to finish the
Comparison leaves us with the short straw every time (yes, every
time). Either we’re on top and start feeling smug and sassy or we
feel down and discouraged because the other person is better looking or
better read or makes more money or wears nicer clothes or has a better car
or . . . or . . .
When we start thinking thoughts like that, only one thing is able to
correct our thinking: God’s Word. It works every time (yes, every time). Here’s what works for me. I start by meditating on the “each other” commands in the New Testament. Here are
- “Love each other with genuine affection” (Romans 12:10).
- “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you” (Romans 15:7).
- “Live peacefully with each other” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
I’ve deliberately saved my favorite for special emphasis:
“Share each other’s burdens . . .” (Galatians 6:2).
As Scripture fills my mind, something changes deep within my heart. I quit
focusing on my burden, I stop comparing, and I start considering the load
another may be carrying. I remember that loads are meant to be shared.
God’s grace is made for such moments!
Now, back to our story. Imagine what that overloaded hiker might be lugging
in his pack. Maybe a long-standing grudge that’s poisoning his mind.
Perhaps a broken relationship with his wife or an ongoing argument with one
of his adult children. A stack of unpaid bills, all overdue, adds more
weight and worry.
The question is: Where can he go to unload . . . so someone else can share
A big auditorium, Sunday after Sunday, sitting by himself alongside a bunch
of other folks? Hardly. He needs up-close-and-personal caring, the
opportunity for authentic sharing. He needs a church where people
don’t just say they love each other; they show it by picking up each
other’s burdens. Community like that allows us to unload and gain
In healthy churches, people love Christ and love each other by bearing one
another’s burdens. Their arms are open to those with packs too big to
carry alone. They don’t point fingers of shame and blame or preach or
compare. Such unloving responses only increase the crushing load.
Love means offering hope from the heart and a helping hand. It means
catching the one fainting under life’s loads.
At Insight for Living Ministries, we regularly hear from people around the
world, expressing gratitude for the daily, tangible ways they feel their
burdens eased by the teaching of God’s Word. I’m so thankful
for that! Aren’t you?