Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. –Galatians6:2/ESV
Some carry burdens they were never meant to carry. There are times in one’s lives that life presses in so that one needs others to lend a helping hand, a prayer, and ear, forgiveness or other form of help to get one through a tough period. These are the burdens spoken of in Galatians 6:21
for each one should carry their own load. –Galatians 6:5/ESV
Then there are the loads we carry because they are our responsibility. And yet, some of these can become burdens we need help with. We may need to cut lose that which hinders us, forgive others and accept God’s forgiveness or realize we may be taking on a load that was never ours to begin with and need to let it go. This is the load referred to in Galatians 6:51
There is a scene in 1986’s movie The Mission which depicts both beautifully. In the scene, Roderigo Mendoza (Robert DeNiro), a conquistador, murdered his brother over a woman. He eventually decides he cannot live with the guilt and chooses to work with a mission established by a priest who works with the Guaraní Indians in a not yet bordered South America. Mendoza is looking for redemption and to use his life for the good of others, having become tired of war and bloodshed. The movie surrounds the 1750 Treaty of Madrid2
The mission is set high in the mountains and can only be reached by scaling a steep cliff. Below it, a raging river.
A group set off from Mendoza’s town of residence for the mission. They include Mendoza, Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), a Jesuit priest; John Fielding (Liam Neeson), another priest; a group of missionaries and some Guaraní.
Mendoza has a load of clothes and his armor packed into a net which he is determined to carry to the mission. He ties the load with a large rope, and begins the climb. At one point, Fielding cuts the load, but Mendoza, steadfast, takes the remaining rope and ties it to his back, flashing Fielding a determined look and begins the climb again.
At one point, Mendoza is exhausted, sleeping on the rocks having tried numerous times to scale the cliff with no luck.
Fielding approaches Father Gabriel and says, “Father…”
Father Gabriel lowers his quill and attends to Fielding.
“He’s done this penance long enough,” Fielding starts, “And, well, the other brothers think the same.”
The priest considers and replies, “But he doesn’t think so John. ‘Til he does, neither do I. We’re not the members of a democracy Father, we’re the members of an order.”
Mendoza eventually gathers his strength and begins the climb again. It is one of Hollywood’s longest scenes depicting the pain of personal struggle bearing an unnecessary burden.
After reaching the top, Mendoza is tired and a Guaraní approaches him and takes out a knife. He puts it to Mendoza’s throat and says something in Guaraní. Then the native cuts the load and tosses it into the river below.
Mendoza is overcome with layers of emotion, depicting the full understanding of forgiveness he is receiving which releases him from the desire to carry the load any longer. He weeps and then his sorrow turns to a tearful laughter as the others join in his newfound freedom.
Movie “The Mission”/1986-Scene
Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.– Matthew 11:28-30/ESV
We serve a LORD who is there to carry our burdens via the presence of His body on earth, the Church. We help each other carry what they cannot and vice versa. To be heavy laden is to have a load too big to carry. It is more than relatability, “I have that issue too.” It is an actual offering to help another where they cannot help themselves, if we ourselves can do so.
Sometimes when people are in distress, they do not know how to ask for help. In fact, the burden may be so big, it may seem impossible for both the bearer – who feels they may never find relief – and for the friend – who may not know how to help. Rather than listening and walking away, and blowing a friend’s pain off, or worse, speaking to others about the pitiable position brother so-in-so is in, wouldn’t it be better to offer what one can? Maybe help the distressed person break down their situation, and offer viable solutions for each scenario; maybe a financial professional here, a medical professional there, a fitting Bible study elsewhere, pastoral or therapeutic counseling in some cases.
Imagine if Job’s friends, in addition to sitting with him in his pain, had simply asked, “What can we do to help”? It would have been a short book, and would have spared Job’s intense emotional and psychological pain, something we were not designed to bear alone. Though we have God, He has given us each other to help carry these burdens so we all might run our races better. But as in Joseph’s case, what God’s enemy meant for harm for Job – through the well-meaning words of his friends – God turned into good.
It is God who takes the knife and cuts the load packed with indescribable burdens, unforgiveness, lies and sidetracking which eventually frees the saint to run their race. Christ’s burdens are not only light, but reflect His light, pressing out new wine for a world thirsty for His love.
1 Contraditions: Bearing Burdens and Loads/https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/bearing-burdens-and-loads/September 21, 2015
2 The Mission (1986 Film)/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mission_(1986_film)