Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression,
you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.
Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
(Galatians 6:1 ESV)
Today in the church there is a lot of imbalance in the way someone caught in sin is treated. In some camps, Christians will not say anything about sin, but will instead simply try to love the person back into fellowship. This approach is like trying to wed someone by simply loving them without ever asking for their hand in marriage. It says the spiritual status quo is fine.
Other Christians act as if their call in life is to wait for or seek out when other people fall into sin so they can pounce on them with all their might. These folks are often found on social media and would make excellent administrators of corporal punishment in schools.
Scripture, however, paints a different picture that the two noted above. The spiritual Christian – a mature Christian walking in the Spirit – is the one who restores a brother or sister caught in sin. The spiritually mature will be able to confront the unrepentant rather than ignore the sin. He understands the havoc unrepentant sin can wreak on the soul of the believer.
At the same time, the mature understands his approach must be gentle. He wants a voice with the one who fell so that he will listen. The person caught in sin will receive the call to repent more readily if he understands the call done in love. Such an approach does not mean glossing over sin, but confronting it full on with humility and gentleness. The mature understands the Holy Spirit is the true convicter of sin.
Finally, the mature Christian does not think more of himself than he is. Rather, he knows he too is a sinner sustained by God’s grace. Approaching the person caught in sin in gentleness will help guard himself from sin in the confrontation. For it may take barely a breath for temptation to push one from sympathizing to sinning.
Think about not only how to treat others if you had to restore them from sin, but how you might want to be treated if you fell into sin.
Have you found that gentleness works best when approaching someone about their sin?
Grace and peace,