“ Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
Many of us today are afflicted with one of two syndromes, the Nice Christian Conflict Avoidance Syndrome or Bash Evildoers’ Heads In Syndrome. Some of us even manage to be afflicted with both.
The shamefulness of Bash Evil Doers’ Heads In Syndrome is notorious. However, Nice Christian Conflict Avoidance is often mistaken for a virtue, while in reality it is harmful to the entire Body of Christ. Because of it, we grow weak and corrupt as sin is ignored rather than properly treated and the patient gently restored to good health. Worse, the condition is frequently aggravated by Passive Aggressive Backbiting Disorder. While this condition makes us feel more spiritual, personally, I’d much rather deal with persons suffering Bash Evil Doers’ Heads In Syndrome. At least they’re honest, as genuinely harmful as that syndrome is.
The Lord didn’t call it the narrow road for nothing. Are we willing to tell our brothers and sisters the truth when we see transgressions? Are we willing to not condemn, but seek to gently restore? Do we know how?
Whether we tend to move to quickly, too slow, or are guilty of looking the other way, or whether we’re honestly not sure if this is something we should overlook or confront someone about, our first step is prayer and honestly seeking God’s guidance, and right motives. Oftentimes we bring our own ideas in and sometimes we mistake the voice of fear for Christian love, since we are often prone to use scripture and Christian slogans to convince ourselves that niceness born of the fear of confrontation is the godly thing to do.
The last part of this is to keep watch of ourselves. I’ve often taken this to mean correcting someone can somehow tempt us to their sin, but this makes no sense. More likely we are being cautioned against the twin errors of doing nothing, or acting without the proper spirit, or perhaps that, we should consider the possible consequences of ignoring the transgression include us becoming tempted to it. But even aside from that last consideration, as difficult a balance we must keep between truth and grace, it is full of temptations, so we certainly do need to watch ourselves.
Lord, when we see a transgression, give us wisdom to know when, if, and how you would have us respond. Season our speech with love and bring to our minds the needs of everyone involved. Deliver us from selfish motives such as those that make us quick to judgment or keep us silent. Give us hearts tender to you and to your will, and the boldness and the compassion we need to speak the truth in love. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
(CSFF Tour Bloggers, I should have my review up either 1/25 or 1/26)