“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.”
There are many parts of this text that bother me! There’s that whole “caught in sin” piece and the intro of “brothers and sisters” that seems to work contrary to “those of you who are spiritual.”
This passage is such a reflection of the Body of Christ. Paul writes to inform us that a midst our brothers and sisters, there are those who are not “living according to the Spirit.” It would seem that Those who are Spiritual would be included in the “Brother and Sister.” Maybe there are three groups within our walls: 1. Those who are Saved and Not Spiritual” 2. Those who Saved, Spiritual but Lacking Maturity”. 3. Those who are Saved and Spiritual.”
Having said that; which group are you in?
And how does your group affect the productivity within the church making disciples?
Groups 1 & 2, in this case, would the individual in sin and in an an attempt to restore them would respond the opposition Spiritual; carnal or with frustration and impatience. The carnal nature would bring in the gossip, judgment, and condemnation. The person who is already ensnared, would now have to fight through the arrows of their fellow brothers and sisters. The lack of maturity could cause one to mismanage the circumstances or process, causing further delays or possible offenses. Furthermore, they individual would have to fight through brands and labels placed upon them. Long after God has forgiven and restored, the one caught in sin would be on trial by a jury of peers whom might be struggling but not caught it in a different trap but not exposed or caught yet. This person would not be effective in the restoration process because they in flesh could further scar and embarrass the one caught.
Paul says, “those who are spiritual,” and then gives an instruction, “restore them gently“. This is key to restoration! Too often we are harsh, abrupt and abrasive when dealing with those who have fallen! Paul Reminds us to approach our brothers and sisters with love as we guide them back to a path of righteousness.
Gently also means in our approach and persuasiveness. We must be willing to speak and pray with those ensnared, walking them through and pointing them towards that which is right and then holding them accountable not by force, but though love and support. Gentle implies that we must restore with care, washing thoroughly with the Word, but not scarring our brother and offending them in the process. We must be willing to reason with them in some cases, understanding that they might feel justified and also be set and comfortable in their present state.
Restoration is a process! This is why Paul calls upon those who are spiritual! These individuals will approach with wisdom and insight, being patient with their fallen brother or sister according to God’s plan.
But I am bothered by this warning from Paul! He says “Watch yourselves or you also may be tempted.” This was bothersome because the implication is that the one that is spiritual is subject to fall to temptation. It would have been more comforting if he said, be careful if this is something you struggled with in your past. Or be careful if this is a current stumbling block to you. But he said, “you may also be tempted.” This is too generic! It insinuates that one is subject to be tempted and can fall period!
But the ones restoring are walking by the Spirit right? Then why the warning? How crafty our adversary is! Even those who walk by the Spirit can be caught. Just a slight loss of focus and one can stumble and move from restoring to being restored!
How humbling this is! Why should we hold back judgement and condemnation for our brother and sister? Cause we could be next.
Last, let it be said and duly noted that it doesn’t take a Spiritual Person to catch someone in sin, but it requires a Spiritual Person to resort them. In this, sometimes a person just has to remove themselves from the equation. I wrote earlier, sometimes the best advice you can give someone is, “ask someone else.” There are times and situations that are just beyond you and handling it will make things worse.
Reality; everyone can not play a role in restoration. As we have experienced in the Kingdom, the harm done by those who are immature who revel in catching and condemning those they find. We have suffered the scars of this who have been exposed for entertainment and cast out from the community to the delight of those operating with carnal minds. We must in the future find some way to cancel out the harm done by those who refuse to grow and or walk by the Spirit within our walls, or we will find more that choose to stay at home and loose the benefit of being in the Body of Christ.