Galatians 6:1 (NKJV)
1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Oh, how awesome would it be to live in a sinless world, with a perfect life, without mistakes, and without evil? Someday. But, for now, we must dwell inside this fallen world, and stand face to face with the sin that abounds in new ways day after day. Are some of us going to fall into sin? absolutely. The important questions are… what are you going to do when a loved one falters in their obedience to Christ’s commands and how would you want your friends to rebuke if you do yourself?
The text here would imply that we are discussing other believers, those that have surrendered to Christ already. I am sure similar approaches can be made with our unsaved friends caught in sin, but for our purposes, we are going to examine this with the idea that we are talking about those already following Christ. The first thought I have as I read Scripture like this is, amen! Why, because it proves that other believers have fallen into sin before as well. I sometimes get the idea that everyone around me is able to live these perfect lives. I also praise God that there is a path to restoration.
The way this Scripture reads, we are talking about minor sin. Let’s face it we live in a sinful world that is growing more sinful by the day. What we see here is a believer that has allowed the sinful world to overtake them in some way. It is both amazing and comforting that the Lord pays for all sin. Think about it, what if He only paid for the sin leading up to your acceptance of Him? you would have to continue on without mistake. Instead what we see is the Lord’s continual forgiveness and mercy. That mercy is easy to see when it is covering our sin, it is easy to be thankful for, but how does it look on others? Do we demonstrate God’s mercy when dealing with other’s sin? That is exactly what the Scripture is telling us here. God shows us gentle mercy as He deals with our sin, should that not be exactly how we deal with others as well?
As we examine this verse, we get the idea that we are going to have to deal with other's sin. We as believers must address our friends and family as we find them caught up in sinful behavior. The important thing to understand here is how we are supposed to rebuke. We have established that we cannot simply ignore the sin, but we also must rebuke with the spirit of gentleness. I have been rebuked with harshness and I have been rebuked with gentleness. When I was rebuked with harshness, I was instantly put on the defensive, almost ready to fight my way out of the situation. When a spirit of gentleness was used, I had the feeling that this person cared for me, they wanted to see me move away from the sin. There is a huge difference there, one led to repentance while the other led to frustration.
Sin abounds, there is no way around it. As we deal with brothers and sisters that have been caught up in sin, we must do so with a merciful heart full of gentleness.
Luke 6:36 (NKJV)
36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
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