He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

by Impact Church

Genesis 4:9
And The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?

Matthew 11:28-30
Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The baby-boomer generation, born in hope after the 40’s War that supposedly would end all wars, found itself again in the 60’s entangled with bloodshed in Vietnam abroad, and sliced with bloodshed in civil unrest at home. Yet strangely, the weariness of war and brooding civil turmoil inspired some of the most idealistic songwriting ever to grace secular radio and television. And whether that generation found its way or not, it didn’t come from a lack of inspiration. For some of the greatest of Gospel voices came through that era, and the nobility of man’s potential spoke in myriad venues of talent.

The Hollies 1969 hit song lyrics, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, became household lines:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where

But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Our play lists may not include this hit, but we should relish the virtues lyrics of such thought espouse. They would have rebuked Cain in his bitterness; Saul in his malice towards David; the Philistines’ revenge against Samson, and the haters of Jesus would have at least reconsidered. Yet, the burden of mankind’s sinful nature is too heavy to shove off with a song; its power far too embedded to think lofty ideals or even God’s divine Laws could bring creation’s highest order to its highest calling.

Humanity without grace is contradictory and self-serving; promoting idealism, while at the same time annihilating it with uncontrollable lusts and lustful control.

Yet, hostility is simply the outflow of being constantly frustrated. And the damning sentence of guilt and condemnation, in which all fallen humanity resides, is the cauldron from which destructive self-interests spawn. And though the sacrifices of slain beasts relieved the people’s angst short term, no resolution or alternative sin-bearer existed. Humankind had reached an impasse – either carry its condemnation and inflict pain and hurt,… or maybe this Jesus guy is who He says He is.

Three progressive questions must be answered in the affirmative for His promises of freedom to come:
1) Can the personal burden of sin be lifted? And if so…
2) Can a new government without condemnation be put in place? And if so…
3) Can the higher ideals man was created for be achieved and, according to the lyrics, also carry another’s burden of weakness?

In and through Jesus, a deeply profound “Yes” to all three!

Satisfying perfectly the heavy commandments written in stone through His life, paying completely our sentence of condemnation in His death, and providing a new and living way for us by His resurrection, Jesus is the complete and ultimate answer! Our toilsome striving for a semblance of peace with God, and with others, is finally over!

Proactively and warmly, Scripture appeals to us with, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”! The Door through which the old life of frustration resides can be closed forever, and a new life of love can be opened forever! And that’s not a new set of rules for a better you, but a completely new person with a completely new power!

To simply meditate on the truths of our new state of being in Christ is to unabashedly glow! They are unmatched, unbounded and exhilarating!

As we embark on a new work week, why not renew our minds in the wholeness and completeness found in the finished work of Jesus? And why not lay down the many offenses, the right to be bitter, and the selfish desire to perpetuate pain by placing blame? Why not forgive the intransigence of the difficult; and rather seek to build a new system of trust through love, whereby the Gospel of Jesus, when shared, can be believed? Why not, in light of the lyrics, be burdened only that others aren’t experiencing our new-found existence of love through grace? And why not gladly submit to a new yoke of service- one that liberates both the served and the servant?

To those who’re forgiven much, the power to love others deeply is innately given! May the depth of our sin be so understood, that the love it took to redeem us from it becomes an expression of compassion for those in similar bondage!