Do you ever have times in your lives when you could have done something to help another? What about those times when you would have stopped to help them but you just didn’t for whatever reason? Or those times when you felt the Holy Spirit nudging you and you know that you should have said something or done something to help a fellow traveler in life. We all can relate to the disease of could’ve, would’ve and should’ve. Yes it is a disease, a disease of the heart that robs us in eternity. Before you start to walk away from reading this just remember that I am as guilty as you are in not always doing what I know that I could have, that I would have and that I should have! To be honest I don’t believe that there is a person living that isn’t guilty of this at one point or another in their life. Why not admit it and face it and then learn from it!
There was a time recently when I saw someone share their pain to a group and while all people listened including me, I noticed that few people actually did anything other than agree to pray for them. I thought about walking away also because I don’t really know this person and this person doesn’t know me, yet I felt the tug to say something to this person. Had this been earlier in my life I would have quietly exited without saying anything and would have justified my actions by saying to myself that I had nothing of real comfort to give that person. But the truth was that I did have comfort to give, even if it is only a silent hug because in that silent hug I would have acknowledged that person’s crisis of pain and let them know that they were not alone or forgotten. The Bible is clear on how to deal with our disease of could, would and should. Take a look.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load. The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:1-10, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
I often wonder if the reason I have received so little help and comfort from others is because in my lifetime I have spent more time avoiding helping others carry their burden than I have in sharing their burdens. This is not to say that I have been callous or unkind, but most of my “helping others” has been to pray without really letting them know that I was praying for them. I need to be more open to listening to others pain and helping to encourage them to stay faithful to the Lord. That is how I view these verses, that we are to come along side of those who are hurting either because of sins they have committed or the victim of others sins, and encourage them to remain faithful. It is easy to be tempted to become so angry at the Church and God when we are hurting and no one comes to help or only comes to accuse us and mock us in our distress. I really need to work on this area of my life. What else can we learn about bearing others burdens?
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:21-25, (NASB).
If I am to be a real and true Christian then I should follow the example of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shouldn’t I? Jesus came specifically to bear my sins and to bear your sins on the cross at Calvary. He came to conquer death and to break the bonds that Satan loved to hold over us and keep us in a state of perpetual fear of dying. Jesus came to show you and me that bearing others burdens is possible because He bore the entire world’s sins and that burden was taken to the grave with Him and left there! He rose from the dead to bring us newness of life in Him. If Jesus could do all of that for you and for me, then the least we can do is take the time to listen to others problems and see how we can help them. Right?
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:1-7, (NASB).
Once again we are reminded to help carry the load of those who are hurting. Sometimes the load is financial, sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it is a struggle with sinning…whatever the burden we can come along side and help this weary fellow Christian stay grounded in the Word of God and focused on eternity where we will be with God forever. No more pain, no more suffering, no more struggling with sin…now that is something to truly look forward to!
What do Christians who suffer from the disease of could’ve, would’ve and should’ve look like? Well, first they could have seen that someone they know is hurting had they but taken a moment to look and listen. Far too often, though, they make their life so scheduled that they have no time to notice others. Then those who actually do notice another’s difficulty often do nothing more than make note of it! Oh they would have done more had their busy schedule permitted them time to do more but alas, they were so busy with the fluff of life that they simply ran out of time for others and only had time for themselves. Then there are those who also know deep down in their gut that they should have stopped and helped that hurting person, family, or situation, but again they kept themselves so busy and thereby make themselves far too unavailable, far too important, and far too short-sighted to realize that they will be judged one day on what they didn’t do! How will Jesus view those who suffer from could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve disease?
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:15-22, (NASB).
I don’t think Jesus likes those who call themselves Christian and yet do nothing for others, do you?