Wednesday, August 2 | Gently Restore
Read Galatians 6:1–10
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. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
In this passage, Paul provides a seemingly disconnected series of instructions about how those who are part of the Galatian church should engage with one another. He starts by acknowledging that there will continue to be sin among those who follow Jesus and are part of the church. Of course we know this from experience! And when someone in the church is “caught”—meaning overtaken by sin not discovered—they are to be restored to the community gently, with compassion. The temptation can be to want to rid the church of someone who has been overtaken by sin immediately in order to protect the community, but, Paul encourages compassion, gentleness, grace, and forgiveness, echoing Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18:15 and James’ teaching in James 5:19. Not that it’s easy, but seeking to restore a believer who has fallen into sin back into community should always be our desire as followers of Jesus, the ultimate granter of grace and compassion. Further, Paul counsels us to keep a close eye on ourselves, never believing we are better than others or immune to sin.
- Reflect on the last time you heard of another person in your church (or in the broader church) who had been overtaken by a sin. How did you respond (with anger, compassion, judgment, gentleness, disappointment, fear, or some combination)?
- As you think about gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit to cultivate, what are some practices or relationships that you think would help you act with gentleness more often and grow in that particular fruit? What would it take to incorporate those practices and relationships into your life more?
God, thank You for the gift of grace and restoration through Jesus Christ. Thank You for pursuing me and saving me. I want to model that grace and restoration in this world, and pray that You would grow a gentle spirit in me toward those who are caught in sin. Help me be a person who can reach out and begin the process of restoration in the way I show compassion and love. Protect me in the process from being prideful about my own tendency toward sin. May I be an ambassador of Christ, extending grace, forgiveness, and mercy. Amen.
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