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
This is dangerous ground. Without going into the gory details, I’ve fallen into this trap before. More than once, in fact, and each time it had dire, awful consequences for all involved. Especially in our age when social media makes it easy to deliver unintended messages, believers in Jesus should lovingly, gently restore people who’ve fallen into sin, whether it’s conceit or lies or adultery or any sin. I’m thankful for Christian brothers and sisters who showed me grace and mercy when my words and actions didn’t deserve them.
And I’m thankful for the fruits of God’s Spirit that reveal Him to be gentle and kind as well. Just yesterday, my wife and I were talking about this very thing, about how God is both kind and severe. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. The stern Father is the same; the loving Jesus meek and mild is still the same man who revealed Himself (as the Angel of the Lord) to Abraham and Sarah, who fought and wrestled with Jacob, and who appeared, sword in hand, to Joshua. The same Holy Spirit inspired prophecy for hundreds of years before indwelling the Disciples at Pentecost. God is the same all throughout time.
Sometimes, in time, God is severe. Sometimes He strictly disciplines us, both by directly bringing crisis into our lives or by removing His hand of protection from us. Sometimes that happens as a consequence of our falling into temptation, even when our intentions had once been pure. When someone in our orbit falls into a sin, we should do what we can to help restore her or him to health, spiritual or otherwise. The hard part is in not falling into sin ourselves.
Face it: that happens. You can’t get close to a fire without getting burned. Sometimes, we get involved in others lives to the point that we fall into sin ourselves. When that happens, the solution is the same one we have for times when anything else happens: run to Jesus. Cling tighter to God, hit your knees in prayer, get to the bottom of your feelings and talk with Him about them. When you realize you’re in sin, or being tempted, go to Him and ask for His help, His intervention. He WILL respond to you in the right time, in a way that matters. When you find yourself on dangerous ground, walk every step, hand in hand, being guided by Holy Spirit.
For further reading: Matthew 18:15, 1 Corinthians 2:15, 2 Corinthians 2:7, Galatians 6:2
Holy Spirit, guide my every step, lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil.
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