6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
You know, so many years ago these words were written, seemingly anticipating one of the ditches the Church would fall into (obviously). There’s always two extremes to every attack from Satan. We have churches that are accepting every form of sexual immorality and other forms of explicitly stated, non debatable sin. Other churches are so obsessed with legalism that when someone falls there’s a hoard of people waiting in the wings with proverbial rocks ready to throw them. Paul says this isn’t right. We are all going to fall… Treat them gently, bring them back, restore them!
Simply written, not so simply lived. We are called to see a brother who is struggling and gently bring them back into truth WHILE remembering that we could be there. Paul follows it up with “watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” He knows how our hearts work. He points to the very truth we just mentioned:we are all going to fail. He says act humbly, gently restore them because it could be you tomorrow. Gently restore them because this could be the starting point to where you will fail!
Let’s pull back from braiding whips and laying claim to the opportunity since Christ (who was God) cleansed the temple in the same way. We are not God. No where did Christ ask us to model how He acted in the temple. Yeah, if you find someone perverting the Gospel and taking advantage of people you can get a little heated…. but not just because someone has stumbled into sin. Let’s couple all of our interactions with love so that we are actually reconciling our brother and sister rather than chastising.
God I know that I am proud. I know that when I see someone else struggling in sin I have a “better than thou” attitude that acts like I couldn’t be there. Help me to be humble. Help me to restore my brother and sister gently, with grace, and understanding. Help me to be a faithful friend, and love those who are struggling.
Perhaps you recall a moment that you have restored a brother or sister in a…. not so gentle manner…. Go fix it. Let them know that God has revealed to you a new truth. Or perhaps that you are maturing into more understanding. Teach them what you have learned, how we are to be gracious. Do not let someone who is struggling be left alone, vulnerable, even experiencing attacks from within the body. Love your brother and sisters, apologize, reconcile, equip. 🙂