How do Galatians 6:2 & 6:5 complement each other?

I have a question for us today. Does Galatians Chapter six, verse five contradict Galatians Chapter six, verse two? What am I getting at? Well, in our message on Sunday, I covered the principle that we find in Galatians chapter six, verse two, carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. And so we talked about what it looks like to be a church or a believer who comes around others, our brothers and sisters in Christ, when they are struggling under the weight of a difficult load or burden, just the trials of life that come our way, the stresses and anxieties of life.

We are to look for those opportunities to come and to serve and the other person and to help shoulder part of that load so that they don’t feel like that they’re alone and have to carry that. But then verses three, four and five take us in a bit of a different direction. It says, if anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone without comparing themselves to someone else.

And then here’s verse five again, just a couple of verses after verse two, where it says we’re to carry each other’s burdens. Verse five says that each one should carry their own load. So did you catch that there? Verse two is saying, carry each other’s burdens. Verse five is saying, carry your own load.

Each one should carry their own load. It seems like these two verses are contradicting each other. But actually, in the original language there, the word for burdens in verse two is actually a different word that is used for load in verse five. And so there seem to be a couple of different ideas working here. The idea for burdens in verse two seems to describe just the heaviness of life, of just going through a health crisis or a family crisis or some other type of thing that may arise, whether through our own choice or just through the sinfulness and the fallenness of our world.

These things are going to come our way, and we are to go to people in those situations and seek to see how we can best come alongside and help bear that burden. But verse five seems to be talking about something else, this idea of our own load. And in fact, in the ancient world, that word for load that is used there in verse five, that we’re to carry on our own, described sort of a military kit or a military pack of supplies. So it seems to be that we are to go to people when they are carrying a burden or struggling under the weight of that.

But there is that which has been assigned to us by God, our particular load.

And my load is different than your load. And that that is what we will be held accountable to God for on the day of Judgment. Meaning there are certain people in my life, certain responsibilities that God has given me that I am responsible to God for, I will be held accountable for. And those people and those circumstances and those opportunities are going to be different than the people in your life and the circumstances in your life. And I’m not going to be held accountable for what you do with the people and the circumstances in your life.

And you won’t be held accountable for the people and the circumstances and opportunities in my life. We will be held accountable for what we do with what God puts before us in terms of opportunities. And I can’t transfer that to you. I can’t carry that load for you and you can’t transfer your load onto me in terms of what you’re going to be held accountable for. I can’t carry that for you.

And so this is talking about two different ideas. Both are biblical, that we reap what we sow, that we are held accountable for our choices before God, and we will certainly on Judgment Day. But we are also to continue to look for the little things and the big things of life that people struggle under the weight of that are just, again, due to the fallenness of our world. And that can be just a very broad range of things. So carrying each other’s burdens, being responsible to carry our own load, I hope that that clarification makes some sense to you.

And even more, I hope that it inspires us to keep seeking to become the kind of people and the kind of church where God is working in our midst as we seek to minister to one another and we receive ministry from others. Thanks for joining us today. Bye.