When Someone Stumbles, Help Them (1)
Paul writes, ‘If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.’ Note the word ‘caught’. Most of us have thought, ‘That will never happen to me.’ But it did. In a moment of weakness we gave in to evil. When this happens to someone in God’s family we have a responsibility to restore them, regardless of the nature of the sin. In this Scripture this word ‘restore’ has medical overtones. It pictures a doctor resetting a broken limb. To restore someone Scripturally, we must help them in several ways. (1) We must help them to acknowledge their failure. After his affair with Bathsheba, David prayed, ‘...[I have] sinned and done what is evil in Your sight...’ (Psalm 51:4 NIV) (2) Help them to accept responsibility for their sin. Even though someone else may have been part of the problem, we are still accountable to God. (3) Help them to repent. Repentance involves deep remorse, turning away from our sin, and moving in a new direction. We also must help them to restore trust, damaged relationships and, when possible, pay for anything taken. We can help them to grow stronger through it. Through failure, God teaches us lessons that keep us from similar situations in the future. We can help them to respond to God’s correction with gratitude. Granted, this is not easy, but when a person understands God’s purpose in such discipline—that we might ‘...share in His holiness’ (Hebrews 12:10 NIV)—they begin to thank their heavenly Father for His loving correction. It even protects them from any root of bitterness springing up as a result of their sin.