I Need Help
Galatians 6:1,2 If anyone is caught in any transgression… restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens…
Though we all struggle with something, we would much prefer to struggle in secrecy. We desperately want to keep our garbage private. Sure, if we have some physical illness, we do not mind if others know. If, however, we wrestle with addiction, lust, an eating disorder, depression, the need for affirmation or anxiety, we would rather keep it hidden from the world. Often, we do not get the help we need as we are afraid to admit our need.
In my addiction, I was completely unwilling to get help as I could not bear the thought of discovery. I wanted to bury my addiction so deep that no one would ever find it. Then, when it came to light, I wanted to be buried. I did not need or want help. My admission and recovery though, has been the catalyst that some have needed to talk more openly about their struggles.
I would love to say that my openness was voluntary but my defects had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the light. Now that my addiction has been exposed though, I regularly meet those who have become willing to admit need only through my failure.
This was Paul’s message in today’s passage. He insisted that, as a Christian, I am to help carry the burdens of my brother. When my brother is wrestling with an addiction or destructive behavior, I am to be open and honest enough about my own defects that he can tell me of his. It is often only in the humble admission of my failures that he may admit his need.
This works both ways. When I am struggling, I must choose humility, acknowledging that I need help. It is easy to play the part of the one who used to struggle. I find it easy to talk about that which happened 3 years ago. It is a much greater challenge to admit that with which I am struggling today. I used to need God, but I’m fine now. I don’t need help anymore.
Paul insisted that we are not to live in isolation. He said we were made to live in community with others and that we are to build each other up in our pursuit of God.
He warned though, of the danger of doing just the opposite. If my struggle is with pills, I must guard against being dragged down by the one still struggling, who happens to have a generous supply of pills. Many an addict has moved into a sober house with good intentions, only to relapse right along with the others in the house. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. I must remain honest about my weaknesses.
Why is it a struggle to be honest with myself and others? It is my pride, that faith-killer, that keeps me more worried about my reputation than my faith. I am unable to be honest as I am unwilling to accept the injury to my ego. In my perverted self-addiction, I find it easier to remain in my defect than to go through the discomfort of confession and change.
If I want freedom from slavery though, I must continually choose to do what it takes to get there. Am I willing to humbly acknowledge my need? I must daily, abandon my pride, admitting my need, if I want to be free.