Galatians 6:1-5 - 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. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
There's a scary little game you can play with yourself, if you are fool enough to try. Simply announce to yourself and the world at large that you have absolutely no problem with (fill in name of a specific temptation), and then sit back and wait. It's amazing how often that will end up being your worst temptation in the following week!
Paul knows the dangers of being an arrogant fool all too well, and he warns us about them. He says, "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). It's so easy to look at someone else who has fallen into some embarrassing sin or error and think, "Well, that would never happen to me." When I catch myself thinking this way, I stop it as fast as I can, and I shudder. I know I've just dodged a bullet. The way the world works, I probably would have fallen into that sin myself the next day!
Paul tells us what we should do when we see a brother or sister caught in some sin. Instead of being self-congratulatory, he says, we should "restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Being gentle with someone who has messed up is good for several reasons. It makes it easier for them to admit their need and to accept our help. It also makes it far more likely that they, in turn, will help us when we ourselves fall into sin or error. Who doesn't need that gentle help once in a while?
Paul calls it "bearing one another's burdens" and "fulfilling the law of Christ." This is a very good way to think about it, for that's exactly what Jesus did for us. When He saw us struggling under the weight of all our sin and shame and guilt, what did He do? Did He just walk on by? Did He point and laugh? Of course not. He came to us with gentleness. He took our sin and shame upon His own shoulders, bearing our burden. He carried our cross.
This is the law of Christ—that just as He did for us, so we should love one another. He has forgiven our sins and taken our shame away. Now we, too, can forgive and restore our brothers and sisters in a spirit of loving gentleness. We can carry their burdens, help them get to their feet again, bring them back to the reconciliation and peace that are theirs in Christ Jesus. Together we will share in His everlasting life, both now and in His kingdom forever.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me to show mercy to the people around me who are struggling, and work through me to restore them. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Have you ever counseled a friend or family member about their behavior? What became of that?
2. How can we "test" our own work to see if it's solid and God-pleasing?
3. Have you ever had to help bear someone else's burdens? How so and for how long?
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