Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. (Galatians 6:1)
Following up on yesterday’s Daily Thoughts, Christians often struggle with knowing whose responsibility it is to correct those behaving sinfully. Often the thought is it should be those who are closest to the person, their spouse, their family members, or their pastor. However, Galatians 6:1 says, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” First of all, the underlying Greek word for “restore” (katartizō) is in the imperative mood. Meaning, it is written in the form of a command. Thus, when we see someone “caught in any transgression,” we who are spiritual are to seek to restore that person; restore them to right fellowship with the saints and with God. Second, when seeking to understand who should be the one to do the correcting, the answer is those who are spiritual. That is, those who are believers but also those who recognize the sin problem. Third, when scripture says, “if anyone is caught in any transgression,” we tend to think about being caught or trapped in some horrendous and hideous sin. But sometimes the sin people can be caught in is pride, arrogance, laziness, gossip, slander, divisiveness. These can be harder to see and detect and often seem less harmful than the bigger and more grievous sins. Notice scripture says, “any transgression…” Of course, if you’re a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. This verse does not mean we go around hammering everyone for every little sin. Restoring someone or correcting their sin, does not always mean offering a sharp rebuke. Sometimes it means when someone begins to gossip, simply saying, ‘You know, I don’t think we should be having this conversation,’ and then redirecting the conversation to something else. Or, when someone comes to us to “seek our advice” about someone who has offended them, we stop them and gently say to them, ‘You know, I really don’t need to hear this. If you are having trouble with someone else, you need to go and speak to that person directly and privately, per Matthew 18:15.’ But nonetheless, we are all responsible for restoring someone who is caught in sin.
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