Saturday, March 15, 2014
Restoration in a Spirit of Gentleness
Gal. 6:1 ¶ My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.
Followers of Jesus Christ may discover themselves falling into a transgression, or a fault. There are occasions when this happens and the Apostle was well aware that this could be the case and therefore he established a method by which to restore such an individual. However, those engaged in the restoration are admonished here that they are to be cloaked in a spirit of meekness. Why? Because when we become engaged in the reproach of others, we may discover that we are tempted, and this may occur on many levels. We may be tempted to think that we are above transgressions or faults, or we may be tempted to use our power to hurt or damage the other individual. Restoration should always occur in with a spirit of gentleness.
It is sometimes difficult to know how to respond to a fellow believer who is misbehaving. That’s because the problems can be found across an entire range of behaviors, from gossip to sexual misconduct. Somehow we seem to rank these behaviors, weighing some more than others. The reality is that sin is sin, albeit some seem to have greater consequences for the individual and the community more than others.
As followers of Jesus Christ we are to live this Christian life within community. Each one of us is a part of a community in one way or another. We need the community to strengthen us, encourage us, and hold us accountable in our Christian walk. This is what John Wesley did through his Methodists societies.
Unfortunately I have often seen two extremes when it comes to detecting a fellow believer in a fault or transgression. One, we ignore the problem entirely because we find it too embarrassing and we don’t want to confront the individual, or we determine that the person or persons must be punished and we go about it in a very public way leaving numerous wounded individuals and much collateral damage along the way. Neither one of these is helpful to the kingdom.
This advice is very practical. When we detect someone in a transgression, take the time to pray! Allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and may that Spirit pour out of us with the kindness and gentleness of a loving heavenly Father who is correcting a dearly loved child. That is the spirit with which we are to respond to the “faults” that we have detected in others. In this way it is the Lord doing the correcting, and not us! When we believe that we must be the ones to correct others’ wrongs, we are falling into temptation. May God save us from this type of behavior and may we seek the God of all comfort and the presence of the Holy Spirit to give us divine wisdom when it is necessary.
Lord, may I seek you and your Spirit today and every day. Amen.