Bear one another's burdens
As followers of Christ, we are told that we are to "bear one another's burdens." (Galatians 6:2)
It doesn't say that only the pastors of your local church should be responsible to bear the burdens of the entire congregation, He says we all should carry each other's burdens. What does it look like to carry the burdens of others? Does that mean that we take on their pain, their circumstances, the heaviness of what they are dealing with? Well, yes and no. Thankfully the bible gives us some understanding of what this passage means.
God has equipt us all with spiritual gifts, some people he gave the gift of mercy. We should all have a person with this gift in our close circle. If you are unsure of your spiritual gift you can take an online test here. Once you take the test go over your results with someone from your church pastoral team to see where your gifts can be used best.
The bible doesn't specifically tell us who to minister to directly. It does tell us though to "love one another (John 13:34; 1 John 3:11), to pray for one another (James 5:16) and to carry or bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2) I find it interesting that John and James once called the Sons of Thunder for their zeal to punish those who did not make concessions for their teacher, learn to become leaders in the message of the Love of God. That Love is the only weapon against darkness.
The first step in ministering to those with mental illness is to remember that we are made whole through faith, not by our own doing (Ephesians 2:8-10) we aren't perfect ourselves, we have all fallen short of the perfect life of Jesus. We cannot approach others with the attitude that we are perfect and that if someone just prays more, or sacrifices more that they will be cured.
When we carry the burdens or bear the burdens of one another we are not doing the work alone. We are strengthened and equipped to do this through our faith and His power. He loves through us, he prays for us when we don't know what to say, it is up to us to submit to His will for our lives and the lives of those around us.
It's not all burdens and hardship that we are to come together for. Remember He also reminds us to " rejoice with those who rejoice," (Romans 12:15) He built us to live in community with one another and that means the good times and the bad. Just as sharing our good times increases the joy felt by each person sharing the burden lightens the load for each of us.
This doesn't mean to carry everyone's burdens, only each other's burden. Those you are in fellowship with, those in your household, your family circle, your close relationships. Also, be willing to share your troubles with others. You can't pour out if you are not being filled. Christ fills us when we pray, give thanks and use the gifts He has given us for the advancement of the Kingdom of God.
Whose burdens are you bearing? Is there someone you can share your struggle with to lessen the load on your spiritual and mental health?