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. (NIV)
Grace screams off the pages of Scripture. From the moment Eve took the fruit, God works to gently restore humanity back to Him.
This gentle restoration that bursts forth out of grace should completely eliminate the judgmental spirit, yet it screams equally as loud. Sometimes the judgmental spirit seems to scream louder than grace. How can this be?
People are caught in sin all the time and the grace of God is always available to them. The grace of God however is communicated through people. We are the Body of Christ called to carry one another’s burdens by gently restoring each other when our sin is evident. But it’s that second phrase that gets us.
“Watch yourselves or you may be tempted”
What can tempt me when I am trying to gently restore a brother or sister who has been caught in sin? Sometimes, this happens when the sin they were caught in was the same sin they sinned against us. Or, if their sin, though committed against someone else triggers us because we have been hurt by others but in the same way. The old wounds may trigger anger that we redirect toward the person we are trying to restore.
We must be able to gently restore one another in grace. Paul goes on to remind us that this fulfills the law. But in cases where the sin has been committed against us or when the sin is a familiar sin that has hurt us in our past, we must first forgive them in our hearts before trying to talk to them about it.
Before they ask for forgiveness, we need to commit ourselves to forgive them just as Christ forgave us. We also must seek healing for the hurt that has been caused by them or someone in our past.
These things may take some time alone with the Lord and possibly with another brother or sister who will help us walk through this. Only when we are able to consider what they have done without sensing a spirit of vengeance should we attempt to restore them gently. Until then, we have to leave it to the Lord and others.
We have to remember the enemy would love not only to hurt you but to fill you with vengeance and malice on top of your hurt. His desire is to make you so hard that you don’t let anyone close to you. But when we go to the Lord with our hurts in need of healing, He heals us and keeps our hearts soft in love.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to react too rashly when someone has sinned against me. Let me spend time with you first. Amen.