Verse: Galatians 6:1-2
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. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
As we continue our week of focus on the fruit of gentleness, we come to this verse. I wanted to include this verse because I’m not sure we do this well. When someone makes a mistake in their life, how do we normally treat them? Neither our secular culture, or sadly the church sometimes, are very good at this.
Often in secular culture if you make a mistake you get canceled, shamed, and ostracized. In the church, historically, many people have experienced much of the same. There is something about human nature that struggles to hold two things at once: acknowledging sin while also loving the person who has sinned well. It’s like when someone else sins, we forget that we too have sinned. If we were to get “caught” in our sin (trapped, stuck) how would we want to be treated?
I want to point out that in this verse the goal is “restoration.” The goal isn’t punishment, expulsion, or shame. Shame, I dare say, is never God’s tool to bring redemption. In fact, the Scripture tells us that it is “God’s kindness” that is “intended to lead [us] to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Our goal isn’t just calling out sin for the sake of being “truth tellers” or being “right.” Our goal, always and at all times, must be to bring restoration. If it’s not, to be honest, we should probably keep our mouths, or our keyboards, silent.
The goal is restoration, and the tool is gentleness. Paul says to “restore that person gently.” He also reminds us that we are sinners too, so don’t think too highly of yourself, and don’t forget our Christian mandate to “carry each other’s burdens.” Isn’t that interesting?
I have a question: when people call out people’s “sins” online, do you think they often offer to help carry their burdens as they walk towards restoration?
This sheds light on what Christian confrontation of sin should look like. It should be gentle. It should be with the goal of life restoration. It should be relational and personal. And it should be committed to walking with the person through the process of healing and finding freedom.
It’s so much easier to just drop a truth bomb on someone. It is so much more loving to actually care about the person enough to walk with them from bondage into freedom.
To be clear we all need each other to be willing to speak truth into our lives, especially when we are trapped in our own sin and the lies we tell ourselves about our sin. But even more, we need this to be done with gentleness, love, and a commitment to relationship and restoration. Let’s become a people who are committed to seeing people freed, not just seeing people being told they are wrong.
Thank you that you have restored me gently so often in my life, Lord. Teach me to show the same grace to others.
Author: Christian Dunn