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. Galatians 6:1
Ever been “caught out”? I guess that covers all of us. The verb suggests something semi-accidental and unexpected, like an unseen crack in the paving stone that catches your foot. And, all of a sudden, you’re down.
What would you do if you were with someone who slipped? The obvious response would be instant. You’d crease your brow in sympathy, reach out a hand to help and ask if they were alright. And you’d do it all in a second.
So why is it so difficult to do the same for someone who has been caught “in a sin”?
We are called to restore such a one, “gently.” I particularly like that last word. It means without fanfare, fuss or announcement in the bulletin.
It’s interesting that Paul offers suggestions as to how we can help out whilst keeping from sin ourselves! First, we should be “living by the Spirit” and this is of the utmost importance. If we aren’t right with God our own pride will quickly surface.
Second, we should confront the person in order to restore them and not to shame them.
Third, we must realise that it could have easily gone the other way, and any day now we could be the one in need of restoration.
Think of those who have left the church because they were hurt and shamed rather than restored when confronted about their sin. How many of those would have remained in the church if these three principles were considered?
PS Don’t try the “confronting” bit unless you actually love the people for whom you’re concerned.
Do you harshly judge your Christian brothers and sisters while falling into temptation yourself?