False Burden Bearing
Recognizing the Snare of Loving by Rescuing
This teaching on false burden bearing is a practical application that companions the lessons set forth in "Matters of the Heart," our free eCourse for spiritual growth and emotional transformation.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
A Subtle Snare
It is easy to become overburdened, but deadly to be falsely burdened. We may have a right desire in our heart to help others and still be drawn into a heavy snare.
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Notice that burdens is in the plural, indicating that it is the specific needs or cares afflicting an individual (their burdens) that we are to bear (or carry) - not the person himself. God gives us grace (strength by His Spirit) to help others with their difficulties and problems. But God does not give us grace to carry the full weight of their life - no matter how much we may want to and no matter how much they may seem to need it! We are not equipped or called to be their savior or redeemer. There is only one Savior who can bear the burden of another's life - Jesus.
Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches, none of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him for the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever that he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit. Psalm 49:6-9
A Heavy Yoke
False burden bearing is a heavy yoke upon the believer who is over-involved in trying to rescue another person or in seeking to bear that person's life as their own burden. It may seem very compelling, necessary and right. But Jesus says that His yoke is easy, not heavy - this is the ultimate test of whether the burden we feel is of the Lord or of self.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are 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
Self-imposed burdens are hard and heavy to bear —and difficult to recognize as false ways of caring for another. (This is especially difficult for mothers with their children.) However, learning to cast our cares for others on God is the most responsible thing we can do. Then, if we let Him take charge, His Spirit can and will direct us if there are things He might desire us to do. It is actually a sign of humility when we un-burden to God.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of false burden bearing or false responsibility
From Be In Health class teachings, Pastor Henry Wright
1) Anytime or in any way that you need others and their problems in order to feel good about yourself. Using others’ needs to meet your needs.
2) Doing what others should be doing. Rescuing - trying to save them.
3) Co-dependency - covering up for them.
4) Boundary trespassing - not watching your own or looking out for theirs.
5) Meddling - getting into their stuff when it is none of your business.
6) Being someone else's Holy Spirit - a means of control and dependency. (Beware of striving to tell someone what to do - you can barely see your own path, let alone theirs!)
7) Accepting too many responsibilities - not being able to say no. (Love is spelled "NO.")
In your serving of others, if there is driven-ness or fear, frustration or resentment, or a martyr or messiah complex, there could be false burden bearing.
False Burden Bearing Coming out of Rejection
Because of rejection you may need to have people look to you for help so that you will feel affirmed and needed (not rejected) by others. Or, because of rejection, if you don't know who you are in Christ, you may get your identity out of living through others or controlling them instead of taking care of your own responsibilities. Either way it's a burden you can safely cast off!
One More to Explore
Forgive? Not Optional! God is seeking a people after His own heart.
Life Application (52-page eBook)
False Burden Bearing (this article)
Interested in Going Deeper?
Consider taking our free eCourse for Healing. We have designed a complete series for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart," to help Christians gain emotional freedom and inner healing. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!