We all have people in our lives who have come to know Jesus as their Savior, and then something happens, and they fall into sin. How are we to relate to them? What are we to do? How are we to treat them if they are repentant? Our Bible Journaling verse today tells us, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (Galatians 6:1 NLT)
We should recognize that this verse is talking to Born Again Believers about fellow Believers who have strayed from their walk with the Lord. The Apostle Paul says they have become “overcome” by a sin. Does that mean they have fallen completely off the wagon and there is no hope of them ever coming back to Jesus? No. What it means is that they tripped and fell. How do we treat someone who has tripped over their own feet? For some, the first reaction is to laugh and make fun of them or condemn them for being clumsy. There is no love exhibited and the one who fell is left feeling ostracized and rejected. But Paul tells us we should “gently and humbly” restore them.
How are we to deal with these fellow Believers? J. Vernon McGee says in his commentary on Galatians, “Now what is to be done to a person who is overtaken in a fault? Well, the “spiritual” folk, and many think they are spiritual, interpret this as meaning they are to beat him on the head with a baseball bat because he has done something wrong. There is a danger of not really wanting to restore him. We would much rather criticize and condemn him. However, the believer does not lose his salvation when he sins. If a Christian is overtaken in a fault, a spiritual Christian is to restore that one in the spirit of meekness. Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.” I have one thing about what he says that I’d like to clarify. When a Christian sins, he/she does not lose His salvation, but he/she does break fellowship with Jesus until he repents and asks for forgiveness. As fellow Believers, we are to help that one back up on his or her feet and help them to find their way back to a relationship with God.
We are to show love to them as Jesus would. Restoration is needed, not condemnation. J. Vernon McGee says this about restoration, “The word used for “restore” in this verse is a verb which means “to set a broken bone’ If a fellow falls down and breaks his leg, what are you going to do? Are you going to walk off and leave him in pain? God says “You who are spiritual set the broken bone. Get him back on his feet again.” It is to be done in the spirit of meekness.” When we restore something, say a piece of furniture, we bring it back to its original beauty. When a fellow Christian falls, we are to help them back to the place they were before they fell out of line with God’s Will and leading. James tells us, “My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 NIV)
Another thing we should recognize about our Bible Journaling Verse is that it gives us a warning. We are to be sure we don’t fall into the same sin as our Christian friend. We can be so busy correcting them that we fail to see that we are headed in the same direction and before we know it, we are where they were. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus and watch how we conduct our own lives. When we walk closely with Jesus and allow Him to help us, we stay on the path of faith. While we are lovingly restoring our brother or sister to the fold, we must guard our hearts as well.
Love is the key to restoration. When we first were in sin and asked God for forgiveness, did Jesus just reject us and throw us away? No, He lovingly forgave us, brought us into fellowship with Him and with other Believers, and set our feet on the path of righteousness. Jesus is our example of how we are to treat those who have fallen and lost their way. As we help our fellow Believers by lovingly guiding them, it speaks volumes to that person. We show Jesus’ love to them, and they are restored.