“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:1-2, NIV
Some years ago I visited with a man concerning his relationship with God. We ended up talking about why he never attended worship with a church. He told me a story that haunts me still. He talked about the saddest day of his life. A remarkable series of terrible things had befallen him all at once. His family was in shambles. He was an emotional train wreck. His faith in God was shaken to its core. Into the midst of this catastrophe walked a prominent leader from his church, bearing this poignant message. “There must be sin in your life and God must be punishing you.” Ouch!
There is a cliché that says, “The Christian army is the only one that shoots its own wounded.” Sadly, like most clichés, there is a core of truth there. Christians who fall into sin are too often left to die of neglect or excoriated for their failure. But what is the proper response?
According to today’s text the appropriate reaction is restoration. Paul writes that the one who has fallen should be restored. The fallen one generally needs a lot of that. Faith may need to be restored. Things like position, credibility, trust, fellowship, relationships, and even sanity may be at risk when a believer falls. Restoration is long, hard work. It is always easier to ignore or shoot a wounded warrior than it is to nurse him or her back to health. Such work requires gentleness, humility and compassion. Such is the way of the cross.
QUESTION: Is there a wounded soldier out there that you have written off? Maybe a brother or sister has stopped gathering with the church and gone back to the old ways. What can you do today to begin the process of restoration?