“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.”
Galatians 6:1 NIV
If you catch someone in the act of doing wrong, or you’re made aware of the offense after the fact, the best way to help them is in the Spirit of gentleness—the same way God approaches us when we’re at fault. God doesn’t shame us, that’s our amassed guilt consuming us. The second part of this request by Paul comes with a warning to be careful not to be tempted by the same sin that the person got caught up with. Sometimes our gentleness, when not reinforced properly, can lead us to enable a toxic behavior. It can lead us to behaving the exact same way. We can start rationalizing the why and how of a situation. Remember to rationalize is to tell ourselves rational-lies.
Paul wrote this letter to the churches in Galatia. If you recall, Paul was not one of Jesus’ disciples that served while Jesus was alive in human form. Paul had been a die-hard persecutor of those who followed Jesus. Paul was so deep in his studies and practice of Judaism that he became a religious zealot. He was a religious extremist. He had far-surpassed the extremes of others [Galatians 1:14]. He believed that Jesus and those who followed him were committing sins against God and the traditions of generations-past.
Paul was trying to destroy everything Jesus created. He was trying to destroy what would be called the church of God. All he knew was the Judaism he knew. He only knew what he was taught by his family and religious teachers. He couldn’t conceive that the Jewish guy named Yeshua (Jesus) was the Messiah the Jewish people had been praying and begging God for for hundreds of years. Paul believed Jesus and his followers to be blasphemers and agents of Satan. In Paul’s loyalty to a self-appointed mission to right the perceived wrongs, he didn’t know that the people he was attacking were the people called by God to right the wrongs of Paul and others behaving like him.
But how did God and Jesus deal with Paul? Did God torture him? Did He send Paul to a fiery pit? Did He torment him with plagues? No. God approached Paul with grace and gentleness. God revealed Jesus in Paul. Paul was visited by Jesus in a revelation. Jesus didn’t ridicule and shame Paul. He instead revealed the Truth and called on Paul to lead a new charge that was truly focused on God’s mission and plans.
What did the people in various towns (that were members of the churches of Judea) say and do when they heard that the persecutor they had heard about was now a preacher of the faith he tried to destroy? They didn’t turn into an angry mob and attack him. They didn’t throw him in jail or nail him to a cross. They didn’t spread propaganda about him throughout the towns. Nope. They saw a changed heart and they praised God [Gal. 1:23-24]. If a religious zealot’s heart and mind could change for the better, then you know the credit belongs to God.
We’re called to reflect the qualities of God and direct that loving energy towards others, even and especially those who have done wrong and caused harm. Paul shares in his letters that if God can change his heart and life then God can change anyone’s heart. Paul was on the far-end of extremism and God brought him back to center. God rooted Paul in the proper soil. Paul didn’t realize that he and others had perverted Judaism and were making it into something God never wanted. They didn’t have discernment. Their judgment was clouded. God would now use Paul and others to try to make right those wrongs. Paul devoted his life to doing that.
Think about today’s Christian church and those who call themselves Christian. Think about the revisionists who want to mistranslate and reinterpret the Bible, and the history of that era, to align to their agenda. Think about the extremists who have no qualms about persecuting and killing others, and claiming to do so in the Name of Jesus. Pray that God touches their hearts and they yield to His ways. Pray that your heart is willing to reach out in the Spirit of gentleness. Pray for discernment and strength to not give in to the sins of others you’re trying to reach. Make sure that while you’re standing up against hate and ignorance that you too don’t get consumed and controlled by that energy.
Thank You Father for peace, harmony, love, family and good friendships that surround me. I understand that in order to receive fully I must give fully. I pray for a heart that forgives quickly and that the Spirit of gentleness pours out of me to bless others. I ask to be forgiven by others as quickly. I pray that I willingly embrace the reformed Paul’s of this world as easily as the churches of Judea embraced him when he went to Syria and Cilicia. I pray for discernment and strength to not fall for the temptations I stand against.
Father, I thank You for life, and another day to Praise and Worship You. In Jesus’ Name I pray to You and thank You for answered prayers. Amen.
I love you all in Christ!
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