“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Galatians 6:1( NLT)
Because I am so good at it, and because it is so wrong and yet so easy to do, I talk a lot about all the subtle ways we sit in judgment over one another. As I do this, I am often asked about how we hold each other accountable to the truth if we are not supposed to judge. This verse is what that’s all about, but even this verse is often misconstrued into judging someone without any attempt to really do what it says. Let me show you what I mean:
Dear brothers and sisters … if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should be happy about your relative godliness, because you haven’t fallen like this person has.
Dear brothers and sisters … if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should find out as many details as you can about what this person is up to so you can make it a matter of prayer with all your mutual friends.
Dear brothers and sisters … if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should ostracize that person from your fellowship.
Dear brothers and sisters … if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should avoid bringing anything up about it at all.
No, it says to restore that person, humbly and gently, and that means getting involved personally, and it means sharing you own life and your own vulnerabilities. Which might look something like this:
You go to that person and tell them what they are doing is wrong. Use scripture, not your opinion. Perhaps ask them to read a portion that applies to their situation and talk about what they think it means. Tell them of your own struggles with sin, what your hardest battle is at the moment, and how they might be able to help you. Ask them if they want help and make yourself available to help them be accountable. Help them get help from someone more qualified if it’s beyond you. Tell them that you love them and they can’t shake you whatever they do. Tell them that you are sticking by them regardless, so that if they decide to sin again, they are dragging you in with them.
And do be careful, because no one is so godly that they are beyond falling into the same temptation as well, and knowing this is what will keep you humble, and not judgmental, as you seek to help.
Question: Is there someone you know who needs godly guidance? How can you approach them in a way that will be winsome to their understanding while still honoring to God?
By John Fischer
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