Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mending a Torn Net

In Galatians 6:1, the Bible tells us that when a brother or sister in Christ is overtaken in a fault that we who are spiritual are to restore them in a spirit of gentleness.

Paul here is not speaking of a believer who is habitually and intentionally choosing to live a life of sin and who is knowingly choosing to disobey God. He is describing a Christian who has been taken off guard and as a result has become wounded. Over the course of church history, the church has widely been known as one of the few organizations that tend to step on or shoot their own wounded rather than helping to see healing and restoration come into their lives. How sad. In many cases the unbelieving world often treat their wounded more Biblically than the church does.

Our goal and purpose anytime that another believer faces a spiritual struggle is to “restore” that brother or sister. This is word that was used to describe the mending of a torn fishing net so that the net once again becomes useful and effective in its purpose (see Matthew 4:21). It is also used to describe the setting of a broken bone so that healing takes place and the limb is again returned to its effective usefulness. That must be our goal for believers who stumble. When a believer finds himself in a spiritual jam and admits their mistakes and repents, we must make it our heartfelt passion and purpose to see that precious person restored to a place of effective service for the Lord.

How are we to go about this ministry of restoration? The Bible says that we are to do it in a spirit of gentleness. This is a word that describes a soothing balm that takes the sting out of a burn. Why is it that when we hear of a brother or sister who has stumbled that we often react in ways that are more like pouring salt in the wound rather than being the soothing balm that helps to minimize the pain?

This spirit of gentleness also requires that we give careful diligence to our own walk with the Lord realizing that we too are susceptible to falling and that we too are a target of the evil one who roams around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. We all wear targets. We are not better than those who are struggling. We too can fall.

In verse two, Paul continues by telling us that we should help to carry the burden of those brothers and sisters who have been overtaken by a fault. We are to help support and carry their load, not make their load heavier through gossip, idle chatter, and an attitude of self-righteousness. Instead, we are to stand with them and by doing so we fulfill the law of Christ who taught us to love each other as ourselves. We cannot in anyway think that we are somehow better or spiritually superior to the one is struggling. We aren’t.

Until Jesus returns, believers who are good men and good women will face spiritual struggles and many will be overtaken in faults. It could happen to me and it could even happen to you. When the church puts these principles into practice it is a beautiful and powerful thing. It is a very true saying, there is nothing like the local church when the local church is working right!

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