1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:1-2 ESV
When we find one of our brothers or sisters in Christ tangled in sin we have an obligation to help restore them. But restoration can be extremely tricky. I have witnessed attempts at restoration completely backfire. Trying to restore those who have fallen is a delicate business. Here are three questions everyone should ask when attempting to restore someone:
1) What Should Be Done?
If we see someone we know doing something wrong we cannot choose to act like it is none of our business simply because it would be uncomfortable to get involved. There is already enough apathy in the church today and we certainly don’t need any more. Remember, Jesus is not simply defined by sugar and spice and everything nice. Jesus was more than willing to ruffle people’s feathers because of his constant awareness of the ‘big picture’. The big picture is that every day we cross paths with people who are in bondage to their sin, and that God’s truth is the only thing that has the power to set them free.
Jesus is not simply defined by sugar and spice and everything nice.
Some of us may choose to avoid conflict out of fear, but others of us make this choice out of spite. Some of us choose not to engage in the ministry of restoration because we despise the person in our hearts and secretly want them to have to ‘taste their own medicine’. We want them to have to experience the consequences of their sin. We have no intentions of actually helping them, but rather we simply want to grab a front row seat as we watch them learn the hard way. This is attitude is horribly sinful and demonstrates an immense amount of pride.
Some of us may choose to avoid conflict out of fear, but others of us make this choice out of spite.
2) Who Should Do It?
This passage instructs us that the people who are called to participate in the ministry of restoration are those who are ‘spiritual’, meaning those who are humble, wise, and mature. While this principle is important and true, we should never use it as an excuse to avoid confrontation. The reality is that we are all called to participate in the ministry of restoration because we are all called to grow in spiritual maturity.
We should never use our own lack of maturity as an excuse to avoid confrontation.
3) How Should It Be Done?
Restoration should always be done with gentleness. One of the reasons that only those who are spiritually mature should attempt the ministry of restoration is because only the spiritually mature are truly gentle. Remember, that in this passage we are also warned to be careful when we restore others so that we don’t become tempted ourselves. This warning strongly suggests that true gentleness is born out of a sense of our own weakness and propensity to sin. Those who are truly spiritually mature have a profound awareness of their own depravity. Awareness of our own sinfulness should always translate into mercy for the sins of others. When you’re filled with mercy, you can’t help but be gentle.
True gentleness is born out of a sense of our own weakness and propensity to sin.